False Faith Vs True Faith

The truth is worthless to those who hold to obstinate reason. Reason ignores the words of God, the writings of God, and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, which God uses to try to convert her. Reason suppresses and burns the writings of God similar to the way King Jehoiakim burned the writings of Jeremiah that were given to him by God (Jeremiah 36). Reason eventually forbids, silences and condemns the words of the Lord. Worldy enlightenment banishes and slays those who stand up and speak what the Lord inspires.

It is remarkable that we don't see more people slain, banished, or persecuted because they stand up and speak against the sins of the people. I'm surprised there aren't more more people that are forced to follow in the footsteps of John the Baptist. Herodias' daughter, after winning the favor of her uncle and step-father (see the problem) by erotically dancing for him (see another problem), asked for John to be put to death because he had stood up and spoke out against her mother's sin of adultery (Mark 6:14-29). Such a great man had to die for a most disgraceful reason. And Herodias wasn't alone in her hatred of John. The Jews also joined in for a similar reason. John also stood up and spoke against the sins of the Jews; therefore, they said that John had a devil. Everyone except those willing to listen to the voice of God hated John because he stood up and spoke against their sin.

In a similar manner, there have been numberless disputes about true and false worship. Abel was slain by Cain because Cain he was angered by his brother's exalted worship. The wise and educated treat the worship of modern-day prophets in the same manner that Cain treated the worship of Abel, but the wise and educated's worship is just another form of idolatry. It springs from reason and human works, not from faith. Natural reason came to the wise and educated and tells them that the way they worship is done for the honor of God and is right. They have fallen into the path spoken by Jesus: "They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God" (John 16:2).

In a similar manner, all of the idolatry of the Old Testament was started by the wise and educated, not because they wished to bow down to wood and stones, but because they wished to worship the true God. They ignored that God had forbidden that way of worshipping him because it was the conclusion that reason brought to them when contemplating how to worship God. God had forbidden worship in that way, yet they still did it; therefore, we can be assured that this worship was a creation of their own fancy, independent of faith. It was of Satan, not of God. The prophets then declared that the worship of the wise and educated was not a service of God but one of idols; however, they would would not endure or listen to the teachings of God's prophets. They eventually turned to killing the prophets. But the prophets, following God and not the reason of man, continued to march towards their deaths, banishments, and persecutions because that is what God would have them do.

The whole dispute consists in this: The false saints quarrelled with the true saints about the worship of God and the role good works. The false saints declared that their acts of worship and good works were divine worship. The true saints declared that what the false saints were doing was an act of idolatry and unbelief. This has been the way it has been since the beginning; it will continue this way until the end.

We can see it in our day. Many have devised good works and divine worship with their outward deeds and laws. But they are faithless things when they are founded only upon works and are inititiated without God's commands. It is spiritual drivel. So we say that they do not serve God; they serve themselves and Satan, as is the case with all idolatry. They mislead people from the Christian faith and loving community. The false saints do not appreciate us calling a spade a spade, so the misery begins again.

Both, the false saints and true saints, agree that we are to serve God and do good works. We disagree on the what that means. What is the service of God and good works? It appears that we will never come to agreement. For false saints say faith amounts to nothing; only natural reasoning shows us what works are good and right.

We will find agreement with the false saints concerning the sinfulness of the obvious sins of murder, adultery, and robbery. But when it comes down to the way in which we live out our Christian lives we are as far from each other as the winter is from the summer. The true saints fear God and hold to him and his mercy. The false saints run to wood and stones, food and clothing, holidays and times of celebration. They wish to win the favor of God by building, by fasting, by their great singing, and by the way they look. They fear nothing, are shameless and full of every kind of presumption. Oh! What a holy, wise, learned people, for whom God's prophets, wise men, and scribes are neither sufficiently holy, wise, nor learned.

This is a modern paraphrase of a small section of Martin Luther's St. Stephen's Day Sermon (I.6-9). It might be step one in paraphrasing a lot of Martin Luther's work into our normal language.

Watch out for the potholes.