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The Failings of the Saints

March 15, 2020
By Martin Luther

[Jacob answered,] “Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live."

GENESIS 31:31-32

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The Failings of the Saints

Here the Holy Spirit describes the human side in the saints. For however sublime they are in faith and spirit, they nevertheless not only err and are ignorant of many things, but they even take a fall according to the flesh. Jacob thinks that he is beyond all blame, suspicion, and danger, and that in this respect satisfaction had already been rendered to Laban. . .. But in this manner a very dear wife is handed over to death by her husband. For if God had not intervened and prevented it, Jacob would thoughtlessly have offered his dear wife Rachel to be slaughtered. . .. So the Holy Spirit is at hand and finds a remedy against the permission which Jacob had given. . .. This is the work and skill of God, to correct and emend what had been ruined by Jacob's error. He can make evil matters good when we have spoiled and harmed matters. And so, in the great infirmity characteristic of human affairs, not even the saints can be without many great lapses. . .. God so governs His saints that even though they err and stray, the outcomes are nevertheless salutary or without great loss. For all things work together for good to the elect and those who believe (cf. Romans 8:28), even errors and sins, and this is absolutely certain. For God is accustomed to make all things out of nothing, and so He can call forth and produce good from evil.

 

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