Martin Luther on Living as Christ to our Neighbor

Luther-95-theses

Although I am an unworthy and condemned man, my God has given me in Christ all the riches of righteousness and salvation without any merit on my part, out of pure, free mercy, so that from now on I need nothing except faith which believes that this is true. Why should I not therefore freely, joyfully, with all my heart, and with an eager will do all things which I know are pleasing and acceptable to such a Father who has overwhelmed me with his inestimable riches? I will therefore give myself as a Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered himself to me; I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary, profitable, and salutary to my neighbor, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ.

Behold, then from faith thus flow forth love and joy in the Lord, and from  love a joyful, willing, and free mind that serves one’s neighbor… He most freely and most willingly spends himself and all that he has, whether he wastes all on the thankless or whether he gains a reward…

Therefore if we recognize the great and precious things which are given us, as Paul says, [Rom. 5:5], our hearts will be filled by the Holy Spirit with the love which makes us free, joyful, almighty workers and conquerors over all tribulations, servants of our neighbor, and yet lords of all…. just as our neighbor is in need and lacks that in which we abound, so we were in need before God and lacked his mercy. Hence as our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor through our body and its works, and each one should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christs to one another and Christ may be the same in all, that is, that we may be truly Christians.

From the Treasury of Daily Prayer for May 3, 2014

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