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The Hope of Things to Come

December 23, 2018
By Martin Luther

Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.

PSALM 119:111

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The Hope of Things to Come

Those who purchase an inheritance on earth, the joy of their heart is not the testimonies of things to come, but the setting forth and possession of things present. . .. But the testimonies are signs and words, not the thing itself, and to esteem these as an inheritance for themselves and to rejoice in them is not a matter for the weak faith and hope of men. For through hope of future blessings in soul and body people rejoice more than all the rich with regard to their present possessions, yes, they rejoice even in torments because of this kind of hope. Thus for the greedy the testimonies of God are not joy and inheritance, because they do not know how to sing: "I was glad when they said to me: let us go into the house of the Lord"' (Psalm 122:1). . . . This, however, is a happy inheritance because it is eternal, for he says, "I have purchased [it] for a heritage forever." The promises of God gladden the heart of those who believe and hope in them. Therefore in the meanwhile we rejoice in faith and hope of things to come which God has promised us. We rejoice, however, because we are certain that He does not lie but will do what He promised and will remove from us every evil of body and soul and will grant us every good thing, and this without end.

From First Lectures on the Psalms, on Psalm 119 (Luther's Works 11:490)

December 23

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