Signs and Promises

"Behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.”
LUKE 1:36
Signs and Promises
It is the custom of Holy Scripture to add signs to promises. Thus in Baptism and in the Lord's Supper there is not only the Word of promise but also a sign or work or ceremony. Therefore after Abraham has become more intimate with God and has been encouraged by Him, he has the courage to ask for a sign. At any other time this would be the sin of putting God to the test. Putting God to the test is linked with doubting. Therefore the Virgin Mary seems to have acted more properly when she believed the promise without exacting a sign. Of his own accord the angel gives her the sign concerning Elizabeth (Luke 1:36).

From Lectures on Genesis (Luther's Works 3:29)

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