Luther Quote of the Day

20. May this be the reward of My accusers from the Lord, of those who speak evil against My soul!

The prayer in this psalm is answered. This will happen to all the enemies of Christ, but especially to the Jews (whom He has particularly in mind), as the obvious course of events also shows. The real issue is their word or speaking, that they teach against Christ, curse, condemn, and blaspheme Him, and would like to see Him destroyed. This is meant by: “They speak evil against My soul,” that is, against My life. They would like to see Me dead and destroyed, so much do they hate Me. But the God of My praise is not silent. He praises and elevates Him even more when they curse and condemn Him.

Here we all might well have cause to fear, especially all heretics and false teachers. For what Christ asks here applies also to them. When a person commits the error of substituting his own opinion for Christ’s in even one item, everything is gone, and the whole Christ is lost, as He Himself says in Matt. 5:18–19: “Whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be the least in heaven. For not an iota, not a dot, will pass away.”

Once such an opinion is set forth, men fall upon it; and it soaks like water into their body, like off into their bones and marrow, and it becomes their everyday garment. Then one side begins to anathematize the other, and each side regards the other side’s teaching as pure poison and a curse, but its own teaching as pure salvation and a blessing. We can see this happening now among our schismatics and papists. When this happens, everything is gone. The great mob is not converted. A few individuals, whom God elects, come back; but the rest remain in their curse and poison, as the Jews do, and treat it as something precious.

That is what this psalm means when it says that all the enemies of Christ love to curse and do not like blessing, and that they do not change. Therefore St. Paul also says in Titus 3:10–11 that one should have nothing to do with a factious man after admonishing him twice, for he is perverted. I have never read of false teachers and instigators of heresy being converted. They remain obdurate in their own opinions. The oil has soaked into their marrow and bone; the water has become flesh and blood, part of their nature. They will not listen or discuss. This is the sin against the Holy Spirit, which cannot be forgiven. It will not repent or be sorry, but will only defend and excuse itself, as though it were something holy and precious and as though the Gospel which opposes it were something demonic.

The Four Psalms of Comfort

Psalm 109

Translated by
Jaroslav Pelikan

Luther’s works, vol. 14:
Selected Psalms III
p 271-272

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