False Saintliness

"Whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God."
JOHN 16:2
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False Saintliness
The world appeared to itself most holy and most righteous; it assumed that it had adequate reasons for persecuting Noah, especially so far as the First Table and the worship of God were concerned. To be sure, the Second Table likewise gives rise to pretense and hypocrisy; but there is no comparison with the First. An adulterer, a thief, and a murderer can remain hidden for a time, but not forever. But the sins against the First Table usually remain hidden under the guise of saintliness until God reveals them. Ungodliness never wants to be considered and actually to be ungodliness; it strives to be praised for piety and godliness. It embellishes its forms of worship to such a degree that in comparison with them the true forms of worship and true godliness are filthy.

From Lectures on Genesis (Luther's Works 2:59)
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