An Occasion for Something Good

With the merciful You show Yourself merciful; with the blameless man You show Yourself blameless.
PSALM 18:25
An Occasion for Something Good
Not only the passive evils that are inflicted on us result in good, but also the active ones, that is, the evils which we ourselves do. "How can this be?" you say. Because when a godly person is aware of his fall, he becomes ashamed and is perturbed. Thus his fall leads first to humility and then also to fervent prayer. It is for this reason that Solomon says (Proverbs 24:16): "A righteous man falls seven times in a day and rises again." For they do not persist in their sins; they groan and grieve. . .. Therefore God leads His saints in a wonderful manner, as the psalm (4:3) states. "With the pure Thou dost show Thyself pure; and with the crooked Thou dost show Thyself perverse" (Psalm 18:26). But these statements should not be understood as though we maintained that a failing is something good. For a failing remains something intrinsically evil; but in the case of the saints it becomes the occasion for something good, according to the statement (Psalm 18:25): "With the blameless man Thou dost show Thyself blameless." Whatever the saints do is sanctified; that is, even if those fall who are saintly or justified or believe and fear God, their faith is nevertheless disciplined and increased. To this extent God is wonderful in His saints.

From Lectures on Genesis (Luther's Works 3:334)
March 8
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