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Act of Faith

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
1
John 3:17.


John uses an illustration plain enough for any one to understand, and from which we may judge that the soul wanting in
small duties will be deficient in great ones. According to the apostle, if one possesses this world's goods and sees his neighbor
in want, being able to render assistance without injury to himself, and closes his heart against him, not assisting him even with the slightest work of love, how can the love of God dwell in him, since he appreciates it so little that he will not spare his needy brother a penny? How can he be expected to render a greater service — to lay down his life for his brother? What right has such a soul to boast that Christ has laid down his life for him and delivered him from death? Frequently people are found who have this world's goods and
are able to help the needy, yet close their hearts against the unfortunate. Where shall we find in imperial courts, among kings, princes and lords, any who extend a helping hand to the needy Church in the maintenance of the poor, of the ministry, and of schools? How would they measure up in the greater duty of laying down their lives for the brethren, and especially for the
Christian Church?

But the merely selfish may well escape our censure in comparison to those who not only close their purses to the poor, but
shamelessly and forcibly deprive and rob their needy neighbor of his own by overreaching, by fraud, oppression and extortion;
who take from the Church the property rightfully hers and especially reserved for her. Not only is the papistical rabble of to-day guilty of such sin, but many who would be known as evangelical practice the same fraud with reference to the parochial estates and general property of the Church, and tyrannically harass and torment the poor ministers. But oh, how heavy and terrible the impending judgment for those who have denied to Christ the Lord in his thirst even the cup of cold water. Therefore let him who would prove himself a Christian show himself such by his deeds and works.

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