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THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT

Note: Luther distinguishes between spiritual and civil government and authority, which we commonly refer to as the doctrine of the two kingdoms. God takes care of us in the Church through the ministry of Word and Sacraments, the means of grace. In our homes He cares for us through our parents. In the world, he cares for us by means of civil government. God gives to the civil government the authority to punish criminals and, when necessary, to execute them. The spiritual meaning of this commandment is that we are not to “kill” our neighbor in our hearts, with our thoughts, with our words, or with our hands. No one has the right, on his or her own authority, to murder another person. Only God may take a human life, and He entrusts this authority to civil rulers. So Christians can in good conscience wage war and punish and execute criminals under rightful government authority. Luther goes on to explain that we break the Fifth Commandment not only by acting against it, but also when we fail to protect our neighbor. To explain this commandment, Luther relies on the Sermon on the Mount, particularly Matthew 5:46–47.


179 You shall not murder.
180 We have now finished teaching about both the spiritual and the temporal government, that is, the divine and the parental authority and obedience. But now we go forth from our house among our neighbors to learn how we should live with one another, everyone himself toward his neighbor. 181 Therefore, God and government are not included in this commandment. Nor is the power to kill taken away, which God and government have. To punish evildoers, God has delegated His authority to the government, not parents. In earlier times, as we read in Moses, parents were required to bring their own children to judgment and even to sentence them to death [Deuteronomy 21:18–21]. Therefore, what is forbidden in this commandment is forbidden to the individual in his relationship with anyone else, but not to the government.

182 Now, this commandment is easy enough and has often been presented, because we hear it each year in the Gospel of St. Matthew 5:20–26, where Christ Himself explains and sums it up. He says that we must not kill, neither with hand, heart, mouth, signs, gestures, help, nor counsel. Therefore, this commandment forbids everyone to be angry, except those (as we said) who are in the place of God, that is, parents and the government. For it is proper for God and for everyone who is in a divine estate to be angry, to rebuke, and to punish because of those very persons who transgress this and the other commandments [Romans 13:4].

183 The cause and need of this commandment is that God well knows that the world is evil [Galatians 1:4], and that this life has much unhappiness. Therefore, He has set up this and the other commandments between the good people and the evil. Now, just as there are many attacks on all commandments, so the same happens also with this commandment. We must live among many people who do us harm, and we have a reason to be hostile to them.

184 For example, when your neighbor sees that you have a better house and home, ‹a larger family and more fertile fields,› greater possessions and fortune from God than he does, he gets in a bad mood, envies you, and speaks no good of you.

So by the devil’s encouragement you will get many enemies who cannot bear to see you have any good, either bodily or spiritual. When we see such people, our hearts also would like to rage and bleed and take vengeance. Then there arise cursing and blows. From them misery and murder finally come. 185 In this commandment God—like a kind father—steps in ahead of us, intervenes, and wishes to have the quarrel settled, so that no misfortune comes from it and no one destroys another person. And briefly, He would in this way protect, set free, and keep in peace everyone against the crime and violence of everyone else. He would have this commandment placed as a wall, fortress, and refuge around our neighbor so that we do not hurt or harm him in his body.



186 The commandment has this goal, that no one would offend his neighbor because of any evil deed, even though he has fully deserved it. For where murder is forbidden, all cause from which murder may spring is also forbidden. For many people, although they do not kill, curse and utter a wish that would stop a person from running far if it were to strike him on the neck. 187 Now, this urge dwells in everyone by nature. It is common practice that no one is willing to suffer at the hands of another person. Therefore, God wants to remove the root and source by which the heart is embittered against our neighbor. He wants to make us used to keeping this commandment ever in view, always to contemplate ourselves in it as in a mirror [James 1:23–25], to regard the will of God, and to turn over to Him the wrong that we suffer with hearty confidence and by calling on His name. In this way we shall let our enemies rage and be angry, doing what they can. We learn to calm our wrath and to have a patient, gentle heart, especially toward those who give us cause to be angry (i.e., our enemies).

188 Therefore, the entire sum of what it means not to murder is to be impressed most clearly upon the simpleminded [Deuteronomy 6:7]. In the first place, we must harm no one, either with our hand or by deed. We must not use our tongue to instigate or counsel harm. We must neither use nor agree to use any means or methods by which another person may be injured. Finally, the heart must not be ill disposed toward anyone or wish another person ill in anger and hatred. Then body and soul may be innocent toward everyone, but especially toward those who wish you evil or inflict such things upon you. For to do evil to someone who wishes you good and does you good is not human, but devilish.

189 Second, a person who does evil to his neighbor is not the only one guilty under this commandment. It also applies to anyone who can do his neighbor good, prevent or resist evil, defend, and save his neighbor so that no bodily harm or hurt happen to him—yet does not do this [James 2:15–16]. 190 If, therefore, you send away someone who is naked when you could clothe him, you have caused him to freeze to death. If you see someone suffer hunger and do not give him food, you have caused him to starve. So also, if you see anyone innocently sentenced to death or in similar distress, and do not save him, although you know ways and means to do so, you have killed him. It will not work for you to make the excuse that you did not provide any help, counsel, or aid to harm him. For you have withheld your love from him and deprived him of the benefit by which his life would have been saved.

191 God also rightly calls all people murderers who do not provide counsel and help in distress and danger of body and life. He will pass a most terrible sentence upon them in the Last Day, as Christ Himself has announced that He will say, “I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me” [Matthew 25:42–43]. This means: You would have allowed Me and Mine to die of hunger, thirst, and cold. You would have allowed the wild beasts to tear us to pieces, or left us to rot in prison or perish in distress. 192 What else is that but to rebuke them as murderers and bloodhounds? For although you have not actually done all this to someone, you have still, so far as you were concerned, let him wither and perish in misfortune.

It is just as if I saw someone navigating and laboring in deep water, or one fallen into fire, and could extend to him the hand to pull him out and save him, and yet refused to do it. How would I look, even in the eyes of the world? Just like a murderer and a criminal.



193 Therefore, it is God’s ultimate purpose that we let harm come to no one, but show him all good and love. 194 As we have said, this commandment is especially directed toward those who are our enemies. For to do good to our friends is an ordinary heathen virtue, as Christ says in Matthew 5:46.

195 Here again we have God’s Word, by which He would encourage and teach us to do true, noble, and grand works such as gentleness, patience, and, in short, love and kindness to our enemies [Galatians 5:22–23]. He would ever remind us to reflect upon the First Commandment—He is our God, which means He will help, assist, and protect us in order that He may quench the desire of revenge in us.

196 We ought to practice and teach this; then we would have our hands full by doing good works. 197 But this would not be preaching for monks. It would greatly undermine from the religious calling and interfere with the sanctity of Carthusians. It would even be regarded as forbidding good works and clearing the convents. For the ordinary state of Christians would be considered just as worthy—and even worthier than monastic life. Everybody would see how the Carthusians mock and delude the world with a false, hypocritical show of holiness [Matthew 23:27], because they have cast this and other commandments to the winds. They have considered them unnecessary, as though they were not commandments, but mere “evangelical counsels.” At the same time, they have shamelessly proclaimed and boasted about their hypocritical calling and works as the most perfect life. They do this so that they might lead a pleasant, easy life, without the cross and without patience. For this reason also, they have created the cloisters, so that they might not be obliged to suffer any wrong from anyone or to do that person any good. 198 But know now that the works of this commandment are the true, holy, and godly works. God rejoices in them with all the angels. In comparison with these works all human holiness is just stench and filth [Isaiah 64:6]. And besides, human holiness deserves nothing but wrath and damnation.

THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT

Note: Luther had been married for almost four years when he wrote the Large Catechism. His former life as a monk makes his comments on the Sixth Commandment all the more interesting and powerful. Luther keenly discerns that chastity is not a matter of vowing to live a celibate life, but of honoring God and one’s spouse with one’s whole being: thoughts, words, and actions. Marriage should be cherished and honored as a divine estate. God created this institution before all others and blessed it above all the rest; and since He brings children into the world through it, He provides all other estates for its support and benefit. Luther condemns forced celibacy within the Roman Church, but recognizes that God does exempt some from married life, either because they are unsuited to it or because they possess the supernatural gift of chastity. The Sixth Commandment releases those who have taken a vow of chastity but who have not been given this supernatural gift. For Luther, God intended marriage not only to prevent sin, but also as a means by which husbands and wives love and cherish each other. Marriage is a precious good work far superior to the contrived spiritual estates of monks and nuns.


199 You shall not commit adultery.
200 The following commandments are easily understood from the explanation of the preceding commandments. For they are all to show that we must avoid doing any kind of harm to our neighbor. But they are arranged in fine order. In the first place, they talk about our neighbor personally. Then they proceed to talk about the person nearest him, or the closest possession next after his body, namely, his wife. She is one flesh and blood with him [Genesis 2:23–24], so that we cannot inflict a higher injury upon him in any good that is his. Therefore, it is clearly forbidden here to bring any disgrace upon our neighbor regarding his wife. 201 The commandment really takes aim at adultery, because among the Jewish people it was ordained and commanded that everyone must be married. The young were engaged to be married early, and the virgin state was held in small esteem. Yet neither were public prostitution and lewdness tolerated (as now). Therefore, adultery was the most common form of unchastity among them.

202 But among us there is such a shameful mess and the very dregs of all vice and lewdness. Therefore, this commandment is directed against all kinds of unchastity, whatever it may be called. 203 Not only is the outward act of adultery forbidden, but also every kind of cause, motive, and means of adultery. Then the heart, the lips, and the whole body may be chaste and offer no opportunity, help, or persuasion toward inchastity. 204 Not only this, but we must also resist temptation, offer protection, and rescue honor wherever there is danger and need. We must give help and counsel, so as to maintain our neighbor’s honor. For whenever you abandon this effort when you could resist unchastity, or whenever you overlook it as if it did not concern you, you are as truly guilty of adultery as the one doing the deed. 205 To speak in the briefest way, this much is required of you: everyone must live chastely himself and help his neighbor do the same. So by this commandment God wishes to build a hedge round about [Job 1:10] and protect every spouse so that no one trespasses against him or her.

206 But this commandment is aimed directly at the state of marriage and gives us an opportunity to speak about it. First, understand and mark well how gloriously God honors and praises this estate. For by His commandment He both approves and guards it. He has approved it above in the Fourth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.” But here He has (as we said) hedged it about and protected it. 207 Therefore, He also wishes us to honor it [Hebrews 13:4] and to maintain and govern it as a divine and blessed estate because, in the first place, He has instituted it before all others. He created man and woman separately, as is clear [Genesis 1:27]. This was not for lewdness, but so that they might live together in marriage, be fruitful, bear children, and nourish and train them to honor God [Genesis 1:28; Psalm 128; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4].

208 Therefore, God has also most richly blessed this estate above all others. In addition, He has bestowed on it and wrapped up in it everything in the world, so that this estate might be well and richly provided for. Married life is, therefore, no joke or presumption. It is an excellent thing and a matter of divine seriousness. For marriage has the highest importance to God so that people are raised up who may serve the world and promote the knowledge of God, godly living, and all virtues, to fight against wickedness and the devil.

209 I have always taught that this estate should not be despised nor held in disrepute, as is done by the blind world and our false Church leaders. Marriage should be regarded as it is in God’s Word, where it is adorned and sanctified. It is not only placed on an equality with other estates, but it comes first and surpasses them all—emperor, princes, bishops, or whoever they please. For both Church and civil estates must humble themselves and all be found in this estate, as we shall hear. 210 Therefore, it is not a peculiar estate, but the most common and noblest estate that runs through all Christendom. Yes, it extends through all the world.

211 In the second place, you must know also that marriage is not only an honorable but also a necessary state. In general and in all conditions it is solemnly commanded by God that men and women, who were created for marriage, shall be found in this estate. Yet there are some exceptions (although few) whom God has especially set apart. They are not fit for the married estate. Or there are individuals whom He has released by a high, supernatural gift so that they can maintain chastity without this estate [Matthew 19:11–12]. 212 For where nature has its course—since it is given by God—it is not possible to remain chaste without marriage [1 Corinthians 7]. For flesh and blood remain flesh and blood. The natural desire and excitement have their course without delay or hindrance, as everybody sees and feels. In order, therefore, that it may be easier in some degree to avoid inchastity, God has commanded the estate of marriage. In this way everyone may have his proper portion and be satisfied with it. Yet God’s grace is also required in order that the heart may be pure.

213 From this you see how this popish rabble—priests, monks, and nuns—resist God’s order and commandment. For they despise and forbid matrimony, and they dare and vow to maintain perpetual chastity. Besides this, they deceive the simpleminded with lying words and appearances. For no one has so little love and desire for chastity as these very people. 214 Because of great sanctity, they avoid marriage and either indulge in open and shameless prostitution or secretly do even worse, so that one dare not speak of it. Unfortunately this has been learned too fully. 215 In short, even though they abstain from the act, their hearts are so full of unchaste thoughts and evil lusts that there is a continual burning and secret suffering, which can be avoided in the married life [1 Corinthians 7:9]. 216 Therefore, all vows of chastity outside of the married state are condemned by this commandment. Free permission to marry is granted. Indeed, even the command is given to all poor ensnared consciences that have been deceived by their monastic vows: abandon the unchaste state and enter the married life. They must consider that even if the monastic life were godly, it would still not be in their power to maintain chastity. And if they remain in their monastic vows, they must only sin more and more against this commandment.

217 Now, I speak of this in order that the young may be guided so that they desire the married estate and know that it is a blessed estate and pleases God. For in this way, over time we might cause married life to be restored to honor. There might be less of the filthy, loose, disorderly behavior that runs riot the world over in open prostitution and other shameful vices arising from disregard for married life. 218 Therefore, it is the duty of parents and the government to see to it that our youth are brought up with discipline and respectability. When they have become mature, parents and government should provide for them to marry in the fear of God and honorably. God would not fail to add His blessing and grace, so that people would have joy and happiness from marriage.

219 Let me now say in conclusion what this commandment demands: Everyone should live chaste in thought, word, and deed in his condition—that is, especially in the estate of marriage. But also everyone should love and value the spouse God gave to him [Ephesians 5:33]. For where marital chastity is to be maintained, man and wife must by all means live together in love and harmony. Then one may cherish the other from the heart and with complete faithfulness. For harmony is one of the principal points that enkindles love and desire for chastity, so that, where this is found, chastity will follow without any command. 220 Therefore, St. Paul diligently encourages husband and wife to love and honor one another. 221 Here you have again precious, indeed, many and great good works. You can joyfully boast about them, against all churchly estates chosen without God’s Word and commandment.
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT

Note: Stealing is not only physically robbing another’s possessions, but it is also taking advantage of other people. Luther was very concerned about unjust business practices. His comments particularly challenge us today, since we live in a culture built on a free-market economy and generally agree that any price charged to people is morally acceptable. On the other hand, Luther points out how working people also steal from their employers by not giving a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. Though written over 475 years ago, Luther’s comments on the Seventh Commandment are amazingly relevant and timely, and they point out the biblical distinction between the two kingdoms. For example, toward the end of this discussion, Luther wisely notes that the duty of the Church is to reprove sin and teach the Word of God. It is the duty of governing authorities to restrain lawlessness. The Church, as a spiritual institution, does not order society or enact societal laws; this is solely the duty of the government.


222 You shall not steal.
223 After the commandment about you personally and your spouse, next comes the commandment about temporal property. God also wants property protected. He has commanded that no one shall take away from, or diminish, his neighbor’s possessions. 224 For to steal is nothing else than to get possession of another’s property wrongfully. Briefly, this includes all kinds of advantage in all sorts of trade to the disadvantage of our neighbor. Now, this is indeed quite a widespread and common vice. But it is so little considered and noticed that it surpasses all measure. So if all thieves who did not want to be known as thieves were to be hanged on gallows, the world would soon be devastated. There would be a lack both of executioners and gallows. For, as we have just said, to “steal” means not only emptying our neighbor’s money box and pockets. It also means grasping property in the market, in all stores, booths, wine and beer cellars, workshops, and, in short, wherever there is trading or taking and giving of money for merchandise or labor.

225 Let me explain this somewhat plainly for the common people, that it may be seen how godly we are. For example, consider a manservant or maidservant who does not serve faithfully in the house, does damage, or allows damage to be done when it could be prevented. He ruins and neglects the goods entrusted to him, by laziness, idleness, or hate, to the spite and sorrow of master and mistress. In whatever way this can be done purposely (I’m not talking about what happens by mistake and against one’s will), you can in a year steal thirty or forty florins. If another servant had taken that much money secretly or carried it away, he would be hanged with the rope. But here you (while conscious of such a great theft) may even express defiance and become rude, and no one dare call you a thief.

226 I say the same also about mechanics, workmen, and day laborers. They all follow their evil thoughts and never know enough ways to overcharge people, while they are lazy and unfaithful in their work. All these are far worse than burglars, whom we can guard against with locks and bolts and, if caught, can be treated in such a way that they will not commit the crime again. But against unfaithful workers no one can guard. No one even dares to give them an angry look or accuse them of theft. One would rather lose ten times as much money from his purse. For here are my neighbors, good friends, my own servants, from whom I expect ‹every faithful and diligent service›, yet they cheat me most of all.

227 Furthermore, in the market and in common trade also, this practice is in full swing and force to the greatest extent. There one openly cheats another with bad merchandise; false measures, weights, and coins; and by nimbleness and strange finances [Proverbs 20:10]. Or he takes advantage of him with clever tricks. Likewise, one overcharges another in a trade and greedily drives a hard bargain, skins and distresses him. Who can repeat or think of all these acts? 228 To sum up, this is the most common trade and the largest union on earth. If we consider the world through all conditions of life, it is nothing but a vast, wide sales booth, full of great thieves.

229 Therefore, some are also called swivel-chair robbers, land and highway robbers, not picklocks and burglars. For they snatch away easy money, but they sit on a chair at home and are styled great noblemen and honorable, pious citizens. They rob and steal in a way assumed to be good.

230 Yes, here we might be silent about the petty individual thieves if we were to attack the great, powerful archthieves with whom lords and princes keep company. These thieves daily plunder not only a city or two, but all of Germany. Indeed, where should we place the head and supreme protector of all thieves—the Holy Chair at Rome with all its train of attendants—which has grabbed by theft the wealth of all the world, and holds it to this day?

231 This is, in short, the way of the world: whoever can steal and rob openly goes free and secure, unmolested by anyone, and even demands that he be honored. Meanwhile, the little burglars, who have once trespassed, must bear the shame and punishment to make the former thieves appear godly and honorable. But let such open thieves know that in God’s sight they are the greatest thieves. He will punish them as they are worthy and deserve.

232 Now, since this commandment is so far-reaching, as just indicated, it is necessary to teach it well and to explain it to the common people. Do not let them go on in their greed and security. But always place before their eyes God’s wrath, and instill the same. For we must preach this not to Christians, but chiefly to hoods and scoundrels. It would be more fitting for judges, jailers, or Master Hans (the executioner) to preach to them. 233 Therefore, let everyone know his duty, at the risk of God’s displeasure: he must do no harm to his neighbor nor deprive him of profit nor commit any act of unfaithfulness or hatred in any bargain or trade. But he must also faithfully preserve his property for him, secure and promote his advantage. This is especially true when one accepts money, wages, and one’s livelihood for such service.

234 Now the person who greedily despises this commandment may indeed pass by and escape the hangman. But he shall not escape God’s wrath and punishment [Galatians 6:7–8; 1 Thessalonians 5:3]. When he has long practiced his defiance and arrogance, he shall still remain a tramp and beggar. In addition, he will have all plagues and misfortune. 235 Now you are going your own way, though you ought to preserve the property of your master and mistress. For your service you fill your throat and stomach, take your wages like a thief, and have people treat you like a nobleman. For there are many that are even rude towards their masters and mistresses and are unwilling to do them a favor or service by which to protect them from loss.

236 But consider what you will gain. When you have come into your own property and are set up in your home (to which God will help with all misfortunes), your earlier misdeeds will bob up again and come home to you. You will find that where you have cheated or done injury at the value of one mite, you will have to pay thirty again.

237 This will also be the result for craftsmen and day laborers. We are now obliged to hear and suffer such intolerable hatred from them, as though they were noblemen in another’s possessions and everyone is obliged to give them what they demand. 238 Just let them continue making their demands as long as they can. God will not forget His commandment. He will reward them just as they have served. He will hang them, not upon a green gallows, but upon a dry one. So all their life they shall neither prosper nor gather anything. 239 Indeed, if there were a well-ordered government in the land, such greediness might soon be checked and prevented. That was the custom in ancient times among the Romans. There such characters were promptly seized by the head in a way that caused others to take warning.

240 No more shall all the rest prosper who change the open, free market into a flesh pit of extortion and a den of robbery [Luke 19:46], where the poor are daily overcharged, and where new burdens and high prices are imposed. Everyone there uses the market according to his whim. He is even defiant and brags as though it were his fair privilege and right to sell his goods for as high a price as he pleases, and no one had a right to say a word against it. 241 We will indeed look on and let these people skin, pinch, and hoard. 242 But we will trust in God, who will do the following: after you have been skinning and scraping for a long time, He will pronounce such a blessing on your gains that your grain in the silo, your beer in the cellar, and your cattle in the stalls shall perish [Luke 12:16–21]. Yes, where you have cheated and overcharged anyone for even a florin, your entire pile of wealth shall be consumed with rust, so that you shall never enjoy it [Matthew 6:19; James 5:1–3].

243 Indeed, we see and experience this being fulfilled daily before our eyes. No stolen or dishonestly acquired possession thrives. How many there are who rake and scrape day and night, and yet grow not a farthing richer! Though they gather much, they must suffer so many plagues and misfortunes that they cannot enjoy it with cheerfulness nor leave it to their children. 244 But since no one cares, and we go on as though it did not concern us, God must visit us in a different way and teach us manners by imposing one taxation after another. Or He must billet a troop of soldiers upon us. In one hour they empty our moneyboxes and purses and do not quit as long as we have a farthing left. In addition, by way of thanks, they burn and devastate house and home, and they outrage and kill wife and children.

245 In short, if you steal much, you can expect that much will be stolen from you. He who robs and gets by violence and wrong will submit to one who shall act the same way toward him. For God is master of this art. Since everyone robs and steals from one another, God punishes one thief by means of another. Or else where would we find enough gallows and ropes?

246 Now, whoever is willing to be instructed, let him know that this is God’s commandment. It must not be treated as a joke. For although you despise, defraud, steal, and rob us, we will indeed manage to endure your arrogance, suffer, and—according to the Lord’s Prayer—forgive and show pity [Matthew 6:12]. For we know that the godly shall nevertheless have enough [Psalm 37:25]. But you injure yourself more than another.

247 Beware of this: The poor man will come to you (there are so many now). He must buy things with the penny of his daily wages and live upon it. When you are harsh to him, as though everyone lived by your favor, and you skin and scrape him to the bone, and when you turn him away with pride and arrogance to whom you ought to give things without payment, he will go away wretched and sorrowful. Since he can complain to no one else, he will cry and call to heaven [Psalm 20:6; 146:8–9]. Then beware (I say again) as of the devil himself. For such groaning and calling will be no joke. It will have a weight that will prove too heavy for you and all the world. For it will reach Him who takes care of the poor, sorrowful hearts. He will not allow them to go unavenged [Isaiah 61:1–3]. But if you despise this and become defiant, see the One you have brought upon you. If you succeed and prosper, before all the world you may call God and me a liar.

248 We have exhorted, warned, and protested enough. He who will not listen to or believe this commandment may go on until he learns this by experience. Yet it must be impressed upon the young [Deuteronomy 6:7] so that they may be careful not to follow the old lawless crowd, but keep their eyes fixed upon God’s commandment, lest His wrath and punishment come upon them too. 249 It is necessary for us to do no more than to teach and to warn with God’s Word. But to check such open greediness there is need for the princes and government. They themselves should take note and have the courage to establish and maintain order in all kinds of trade and commerce. They must do this lest the poor be burdened and oppressed and the leaders themselves be burdened with other people’s sins.

250 This is enough of an explanation of what stealing is. Let the commandment not be understood too narrowly. But let it apply to everything that has to do with our neighbors. Briefly, in summary (as in the former commandments) this is what is forbidden: (a) To do our neighbor any injury or wrong (in any conceivable manner, by impeding, hindering, and withholding his possessions and property), or even to consent or allow such injury. Instead, we should interfere and prevent it. 251 (b) It is commanded that we advance and improve his possessions. When they suffer lack, we should help, share, and lend both to friends and foes [Matthew 5:42].

252 Whoever now seeks and desires good works will find here more than enough to do that are heartily acceptable and pleasing to God. In addition, they are favored and crowned with excellent blessings. So we are to be richly compensated for all that we do for our neighbor’s good and from friendship. King Solomon also teaches this in Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.” 253 Here, then, you have a rich Lord. He is certainly enough for you. He will not allow you to come up short in anything or to lack [Psalm 37:25]. So you can with a joyful conscience enjoy a hundred times more than you could scrape together with unfaithfulness and wrong. Now, whoever does not desire this blessing will find enough wrath and misfortune.
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