Why should a person be worldly

Luther's script: From secular authorities, how far one owes their obedience

The book by Martin Luther, published at the beginning of 1523, is a theological argument about the relationship of a Christian to the secular authorities and is given in the style of a sermon, since he writes in the form of a dialogue. As a result of his excommunication and the imposition of imperial ban, he is reacting to the prohibitions on the printing and sale of his writings and the translation of the New Testament. In addition, the text contains a dedication to Johann I, Duke of Saxony, who asked Luther about the extent to which the exercise of secular rule was compatible with Christian faith.

Here we come to the main part of this sermon. Because after we have learned that the worldly authorities must be on earth and how they should be used Christianly and blessedly, we must now learn how long their arm and how far their hand reach so that they do not stretch too far and God reach into his realm and regiment. And that is very necessary to know. Because unbearable and horrific damage results from where it is given too much space, and it is not without damage where it is stretched too tightly. Here she punishes too little, there she punishes too much. Although it is more tolerable that on this side she should sin and punish too little; since it is always better to let a boy live than to kill a righteous man, since the world has and must have boys, but the pious has little.

First of all, it should be noted that the two parts of Adam’s children, one in God's kingdom under Christ, the other in the world kingdom under the authorities (as said above), have two different laws. Because every kingdom must have its laws and rights, and without a law no kingdom can exist, as daily experience sufficiently shows. The worldly government has laws that do not extend beyond body and property and what is outwardly on earth. Because God cannot and will not allow anyone to rule over the soul but himself. Therefore: where worldly power fails to give laws to the soul, God intervenes in his rule and only seduces and corrupts souls. We want to make this so clear that it should be grasped with hands so that our Junkers, the princes and bishops see what fools they are when they want to force people with their laws and commandments to believe one way or another.

If one puts a human law on the soul that it should believe, one way or the other, as the same person states it, then there is certainly not God's word. If God's word is not there, it is uncertain whether God wants it. For what he does not command, one cannot be sure that it will please him: yes, one is certain that it will not please God. For he wants our faith based solely and purely on his divine word, as he did in Matt. 16:18 says: "On this rock I will build my church", and Joh. 10, 4. 5: My sheep hear my voice and know me, but they do not hear the voice of strangers, but flee from them. From this it follows that worldly violence urges souls to eternal death with such a sacrilege, because it forces them to believe that it is right and certain to please God, while it is still uncertain, yes, certain that it is displeasing because there is no clear word of God. For whoever believes that what is wrong or uncertain is right, denies the truth, which is God himself, and believes in lies and errors, considers what is wrong to be right.

Therefore it is an utterly foolish thing when they command that one should believe the church, the fathers, councils, although there is no word of God. Apostles of the devil command this and not the church. For the church commands nothing unless she knows for sure that it is God's word, like 1 Peter. 4:11 says: "If someone speaks, he should speak as God's word". But they will not prove for a long time that the councils are the words of God. But it is even more foolish when one says: kings and princes and them [263] The multitudes believe so. My dear, we are not baptized into kings, princes, nor into multitudes, but into Christ and God himself. We are not called kings, princes or multitudes, we are called Christians. The soul should and can command no one to show her the way to heaven. But no man can do that, but God alone. That is why nothing but God's word should be taught and accepted in matters that concern the bliss of the soul.

Furthermore: even if they are rude fools, they must confess that they have no power over souls. Because no one can kill a soul or make it alive, lead to heaven or hell. And if they do not want to believe us, Christ will testify strongly enough, since he made Matt. 10:28 says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and cannot kill the soul; but rather fear him who can destroy body and soul in hell. "At least I think that here clearly enough the soul has been taken from all human hands and placed under God's power alone. Now tell me how much understanding must the head Who would not think he was foolish who commanded the moon to shine when he wanted to?

Moreover, one can also understand it from the fact that any kind of violence should and can only act where it can see, recognize, judge, judge, change and change. Because what kind of judge would it be to me who would blindly judge the things that he neither hears nor sees? Now tell me how can a person see, recognize, judge, judge and change hearts? For this is reserved for God alone, as Ps. 7: 9-10 says: "God tests hearts and minds", furthermore: "The Lord is judge over the peoples", and Acts. 1, 24: "The Lord knows all hearts", and Jer. 17, 9 f .: "The heart is a defiant and despondent thing, who can fathom it? I, the Lord, can fathom the heart [264] and check the kidneys ". A court should and must be very safe if it is to judge and have everything in bright light. But the thoughts and attitudes of souls cannot be revealed to anyone but God. Therefore it is in vain and impossible to command or force someone to believe one way or another. It takes a different grip, violence doesn't do it. And I am amazed by the great fools when they themselves all say: The church does not judge hidden things. If the church's spiritual government only rules things that are manifest, to whom is the nonsensical, worldly power subordinate to judging and mastering such secret, spiritual, hidden things as faith is?

It is also at everyone's own risk, as he believes, and he must see for himself that he believes correctly. For just as no one else can go to hell or heaven for me, just as little can he believe or not believe for me; and just as little as he can open or close heaven or hell for me, just as little can he drive me to believe or disbelief. Because it is on everyone's conscience how they believe or not believe, and because this does not detract from worldly power, they should also be satisfied and take care of their cause and allow them to believe in any way they can and will , and do not force anyone. Because it is a free work around the faith, to which nobody can be forced, yes, it is a divine work in the spirit, let alone that it should force and create external violence. Hence the common word is taken; Nobody can and should not be forced to believe.

In addition, the blind, wretched people do not see what a futile and impossible thing they are undertaking. For no matter how strictly they command and how much they rage, they cannot compel people any further than to follow them with their mouths and with their hands; they cannot force their hearts, even if they should tear themselves apart. Because the saying is true; Thoughts are duty free. What is the matter now that they want to force people to believe in their hearts, even though they see that it is impossible? They force their weak consciences to lie, deny and speak differently than they mean in their hearts and thus burden themselves with horrible foreign sins. Because all the lies and false confessions that make such weak consciences fall back on the one who forces them. In any case, it would be much easier if their subjects were already wrong, that they were simply making them wrong, than for them to force them to lie and to speak differently from what they have in their hearts. It is also not right to want to ward off evil with something angry.

But do you want to know why God decreed that the worldly princes must toast so horribly? I want to tell you. God gave them in the wrong direction and wants to put an end to them, just as he did to the spiritual junkers. For my gracious lords, Pope and Bishops, should be bishops and preach God's word. They leave that and have become worldly princes and rule with laws that only concern body and property. They did it the other way round: Inwardly they should rule the souls through God's word, so (but) they rule castles, cities, country and people by heart, and torture the souls with unspeakable murder. Likewise, the secular lords of the country and its people should govern outwardly. They leave that. They could not do more than scuffle and scrape, one duty on top of the other, one interest rate over the other, because a bear, here a wolf (for hunting), no right to let faithfulness or truth be found in them, and act that it would be too much for robbers and boys, and that their worldly regiment is just as deeply depressed as the spiritual tyrant regiment. Therefore God also reverses their mind, that they drive absurdly and want to rule over souls spiritually, just as they want to rule worldly, so that they confidently load foreign sins on themselves, hating God and all people, until they perish with bishops, priests and monks go, one boy with the other. And afterwards they blame the Gospel for all of this and blaspheme, instead of their confession, God and say that our sermon has done what their perverse malice deserves and still deserves without ceasing; as the Romans did when they were destroyed. See, there you have God's advice over the great Hansen. But let them not believe that such solemn counsel of God may not be hindered by their repentance.

You object: Did Paul have Rom. 13 said that everyone should be subject to power and authority, and Peter says we should be subject to all human order, answer: You are right with me; because the proverbs serve me. Paul speaks of authority and power. Now you have now heard that no one can have power over souls except God. So Paul need not be able to speak of obedience except where violence can be. From this it follows that he does not speak of faith, not of the fact that worldly power should command faith, but of external goods to regulate and rule them on earth. This is also evident from his words, since he sets the goal of both violence and obedience, and Rom. 13: 7 says: "So now give everyone what you owe: tax to whom the tax is due, duty to whom the duty is due, fear to whom fear is due, honor to whom honor is due." See there, worldly obedience and violence extends only to external taxes, duties, honor, and fear. Furthermore, when he says in v. 3: "The violence is not to be feared with the good works, but with the bad", he again limits the violence. that she should master evil works, not faith or God's word.

This is what Peter also wants when he says: "human order". Now human order cannot extend into heaven and over the soul, but only on earth, to the outward walk among people, where people see, recognize, and direct , judge, punish, and save.

Christ himself also made a fine distinction between all this and summarized it briefly when he spoke to Matt. 22, 21 says: "Pray to the emperor what is the emperor's and to God what is God". If imperial power extended into God's kingdom and power and was not a special one, he should not have made such a distinction. For as I said is, the soul is not under the emperor's power, he can neither teach nor guide it, neither kill nor make alive, neither bind nor loosen, neither judge nor judge, neither hold on nor release, which should be where he had power, to command over them and to issue laws: but over body, goods and honor he has to do these things, for such things are under his power.

Long before that, David put all of this into a short, fine saying when he says Ps. 115, 16: "Heaven is the Lord's heaven, but he has given the earth to the children of men." That is, what is on earth and belongs to the temporal, earthly kingdom, there a person has authority from God, but what belongs to heaven and to the eternal kingdom is only under the heavenly Lord.Audi did not forget that Moses, since he says Genesis 1:26 : "God said: Let us make men who rule over the fish in the sea and over the birds under the sky and over the cattle". There is only an external regiment assigned to the people. And in sum this is the opinion, as Peter Acts. 5, 29 says: "One must obey God more than men". With this he clearly sets a goal for worldly power. For where one had to keep everything that worldly power wanted, it would be said in vain: "One must Obey God more than men. "

If your prince or worldly lord commands you to go along with the [267] Pope, to believe one way or another, or commands you to do books about yourself, you should say like this: Lucifer is not entitled to sit next to God . Dear Lord, I owe you body and property to obey you; command me according to the measure of your power on earth, and I will follow. But if you ask me to believe and to do books of mine, I will not obey. For there you are a tyrant and reach up too high, command where you have neither right nor power etc. If he takes your property and punishes such disobedience: blessed are you and thank God that you are worthy for the sake of divine words Suffer. Just let him rave, the fool, he'll find his judge. Because I tell you, where you do not contradict him and give him space so that he takes away your faith or your books, then you have truly denied God.

Let me give you an example: In Meißen, Bavaria and the Mark Brandenburg and in other places the tyrants have issued a command that the New Testaments should be handed over to the authorities. Here their subjects should pretend: they should not hand over a leaf or a letter when they lose their bliss. For whoever does it is handing Christ over to Herod. Because they act as murderers of Christ like Herod. Rather, they are supposed to suffer when you are ordered to run through the houses and take them by force, be it books or goods. One ought not to withstand iniquity, but suffer it; but one should not approve of it, nor serve it or follow it, or obey it with one step or with one finger. For such tyrants act as secular princes should. They are worldly princes; But the world is God's enemy, therefore they also have to do what is contrary to God, but in accordance with the world, so that they do not become dishonorable, but remain worldly princes. Therefore do not be surprised when they rage against the gospel and play fools; they must live up to their title and name.

And you should know that from the beginning of the world it has been a rare bird for a clever prince, even less often for a pious prince. They are generally the greatest fools or the worst boys on earth; which is why one must be prepared for the worst with them at all times and expect little good from them, especially in divine matters which concern the salvation of souls. For they are God's stick masters and executioners, and his divine anger uses them to punish the wicked and to keep outward peace. It is a great Lord our God. That is why he must also have such noble, high-born, rich executioners and bailiffs, and wants them to have wealth, honor and fear from everyone's abundance and multitude. It pleases his divine will that we call his executioners "gracious lords", fall at their feet and are subject to them with all humility, provided that they do not extend their craft too far so that they want to become shepherds from executioners. that he is wise, pious, or a Christian, that is one of the great miracles and the most dearest sign of divine grace over the same land.3, 4: "I will give them boys to be princes and wanton people shall rule over them", and Hosea 13, 11: "I will give you kings in my anger and will take them from you in my anger". The world is too bad and not worthy to have many wise and pious princes. Frogs must have storks.

Then you say again: Yes, worldly violence does not force you to believe, but only externally prevents people from being seduced with false doctrine; how else could one defend against the heretics? Answer: That is what the bishops are supposed to do; they are commanded to do this and not the princes. Because heresy can never be defended by force. A different grip is required, and there is a different quarrel and trade here than with the sword. God's word should quarrel here; if it does not do this, worldly violence will probably remain unaligned, even if it immediately filled the world with blood. Heresy is a spiritual thing, it cannot be chopped with iron, burned with fire, drowned with water. But there is only the word of God that does, as Paul does in 2 Cor. 10, 4 f. Says: “The weapons with which we fight are not carnal, but mighty in the service of God to destroy fortifications. We thereby destroy attacks and everything high that arises against the knowledge of God, and we take all thoughts captive under the obedience of Christ ".

In addition, there is no greater strengthening of faith and heresy than when one acts contrary to it with sheer force without God's Word. For one considers it certain that such violence does not have the right thing for itself and acts against the law, because it comes along without God's Word and otherwise knows nothing but mere force to help itself, as unreasonable animals do. Because one cannot intervene by force in worldly matters either, unless the injustice has previously been overcome by the law. How much more impossible it is to act violently in these lofty spiritual matters without justice and God's word! Damm see how fine, clever junkers they are to me. They want to drive out heresy and attack (them) with it, with which they only strengthen the adversary, make themselves suspect and make them justified. Dear, if you want to drive out heresy, you have to find a grip that, above all else, you tear it out of your heart and, with the consent (of those afflicted by it), turn it away. You will not bring this to an end with violence, you will only strengthen it. What good is it if you strengthen the heresy in the heart and only weaken by heart, on the tongue, and have to lie? But God's word enlightens the hearts; and then all heretics and errors fall from the heart by themselves.

The prophet Isaiah proclaimed such destruction of heresy in 11: 4; "He will strike the violent with the stick of his mouth and kill the wicked with the breath of his lips." Then you see that it is directed through the mouth when the wicked is to be killed and converted. Summa Summarum: Such princes and tyrants do not know that to fight against heresy is to fight against the devil who has hearts with error, as Paul says in Eph. 6, 12: “We do not have to fight with flesh and blood, but with mighty and mighty people, namely with the lords of the world that rule in this darkness "etc. Therefore, as long as one does not push the devil away and chase him from the heart, it is the same to him if I kill his tools with sword or fire as if I hit him with a straw Lightning fights. Job 41: 19 ff. Has abundantly testified to this, since he says that the devil respects iron like straw and does not fear any violence on earth. You can also see it through experience. For if all Jews and heretics were burned by force at once, nobody is and will be overcome or converted as a result.

But such a world should have such princes that no part of it should exercise its office. The bishops should leave the word of God behind and not rule souls with it, but should command the secular princes to rule there with the sword. Conversely, the secular princes should allow usury, robbery, adultery, murder and other evil works to go and do it themselves, then let the bishops punish them with letters of excommunication, and so turn the shoe finely: souls with iron and bodies with letters rule that secular princes rule spiritually and spiritual princes rule worldly. What else does the devil have to do on earth than to fool around with his people and play carnival games? These are our Christian princes who defend the faith and devour the Turks. Yes, of course, fine fellows, in whom one can trust: they will achieve something with such subtle wisdom, namely that they break their necks and bring the country and its people into misery and need.

But I wanted to honestly advise blind people to watch out for a little saying that is in Psalm 107: "He poured contempt on princes" (v. 40). I swear to God: you will make this little saying swarm over you, you are lost, even if each of you were as powerful as the Turk, and your snorting and raving will not help you. It has already started for the most part, because very little They are princes who are not taken for fools or boys. It does, they also turn out to be so, and the common man becomes understanding, and the plague of princes, which God calls "contempt" (Ps. 107, 40), is enormous among the people and common man. I am afraid that there will be no defense, the princes will then be princely and begin again to rule with reason and neatly. You won't, you can't, you don't want to suffer your tyranny and willfulness in the long run. Dear princes and gentlemen, know how to judge yourselves, God does not want it any longer. It is no longer a long time ago when you hunted and drove people like game. Therefore abandon your iniquity and violence and make sure that you act rightly, and let God's word take its course, which it wants, must and should have, and which you will not hinder. If there is heresy, it should be overcome with God's word, as it should be. But if you pull a lot of swords, see that someone does not come to ask you to take it, (but) not in God's name.

But if you would like to object: Because there should be no worldly sword among Christians, how can they be governed outwardly? Authority must also remain among the Christians. Answer: There should and cannot be an authority among Christians, but each is at the same time subject to the other, like Paul in Rom. 12, 10 says: "One [271] precede the other with reverence", and 2 Petr. 5, 5: Be all subject to one another. This is what Christ also wants Luke 14:10: "If you are invited (to the wedding) so sit down below ". There is no ruler among Christians but Christ himself and alone. And what kind of authority can there be where everyone is equal and has the same rights, power, authority and honor? Where for this no one desires to be the other's highest, but everyone wants to be the other's lowest? Could one not set up an authority where such people are, if one wanted to do so, because the nature and nature (of Christians) does not suffer to have rulers, since no one wants to be a ruler. But where there are no such people, there are also not true Christians.

What are the priests and bishops? Answer: Your regiment is not an authority or power, but a service and office. Because they are neither higher nor better than other Christians. That is why they should not set up a law or command over others without the same will and permission, but their ruling is nothing other than doing God's word so that Christians lead and overcome heresy. Because, as has been said, Christians cannot be ruled with anything but God's Word alone. For Christians must be ruled by faith, not by outward works. But faith cannot come through any human word, but only through God's word, as Paul Rom. 10, 17 says: "Faith comes from preaching, but preaching through the word of Christ." Those who do not believe are not Christians, they do not belong under Christ's kingdom either, but under the worldly kingdom, so that they are part of it force and rule by the sword and external regiment. Christians do everything that is good of their own accord and have enough for themselves in the word of God. But otherwise I have written a lot and often about it.