by Pastor Lehmann
Posted on March 07, 2015 7:30 PM
During these seasons of Lent and Easter, we speak much of the cross of Christ, but Christ himself speaks of the crosses that Christians will bear. Here are some valuable thoughts by Dr. Martin Luther, from "That a Christian Should Bear His Cross with Patience":
Taking up the cross is by nature something that causes pain. It must not be self-imposed (as the Anabaptists and all the work-righteous teach); it is something that is imposed upon a person.
The touch of Christ sanctifies all the sufferings and sorrows of those who believe in him. Whoever does not suffer shows that he does not believe that Christ has given him the gift of sharing in his own passion. But if anyone does not wish to bear the cross which God places upon him, he will not be compelled to do so by anyone - he is always free to deny Christ. But in so doing he must know that he cannot have fellowship with Christ or share in any of his gifts.
Since God is the same and the cause is the same, in which he has upheld the faith of all the saints so that he might be vindicated, God will not now, just for our own sake, be found a liar; nor are we to make a liar of him. God grant, whether we do or do not believe, that he will yet defend his Word and surely help us. This demands great effort and care so that, in the first place, we turn our eyes from the might of this world and second, hold fast to the Word. Eve disregarded the Word and relied on what was visible, but a Christian, in contrast, disregards what he can see and holds to the Word. The godless do not do so but rely upon [human authorities and powers] to uphold them in this world, but because they neglect the Word, they will be ruined and lost to eternity.
- Translated by Dorris A Flesner, and found in Luther's Works: American Edition, Volume 43, pp. 183-186.