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Sitting in the Gate

November 13, 2019
By Martin Luther

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.

GENESIS 19:1

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Sitting in the Gate

God has put the ministry of the Word into this world, not that the ministers should be silent, but that they should reprove, teach, comfort, terrify, and in this manner save whomever they can. . .. Even the most wicked human beings must be borne with compassion; but when they want to snatch us with them to destruction, compassion must cease. . .. But toward those who are not so obstinate but can be guided God wants us to show compassion, as the parable about the lost sheep teaches (Luke 15:4[-7]) . . .. After this it is the work of the Holy Spirit to direct the hearts of men by means of the Word and confession, with the result that the fearful apprehend the comforts but the obstinate are either converted after they have been frightened by the words of the Law or perish utterly. Not all people should be condemned without distinction. Just as the flood and the destruction of the Sodomites are like thunderbolts by which the hearts are frightened, so there is added to these examples of wrath the comforting knowledge that Noah and Lot were preserved. In this way the fearful will be kept from despairing. . .. In these examples the wrath of God is presented in such a way that at the same time the goodness of God, who mercifully preserves the faithful, still shines forth.

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