The Pretense of Sanctity

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 JOHN 3:18
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The Pretense of Sanctity
The sectarians today... have abandoned Christ, chopped down the tree, and subverted the foundation. Therefore they build on the sand (Matthew 7:26) and cannot build anything except wood, hay, and stubble (1 Corinthians 3:12). They make a magnificent show of love, humility, and the like. But in fact, as John says (1 John 3:18), they do not love in deed and in truth but in word and speech. They also make a pretense of great sanctity, and by this pretense of sanctity they impress people into supposing that their works are wonderful and are pleasing to God. But if you shine the light of the Word on them, you will discover that they are mere trifles having to do with silly and meaningless matters. . . Therefore it is as necessary that faithful preachers urge good works as that they urge the doctrine of faith. For Satan is enraged by both and bitterly resists them. Nevertheless, faith must be implanted first; for without it one cannot understand what a good work is and what is pleasing to God.

From Lectures on Galatians (1535) (Luther's Works 27:52-53)
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