Luther’s Call to Integrity and Sincerity

In Luther the Preacher, Fred Meusner relates this striking quote from Martin Luther to pastors:

The call is: watch, study, attend to reading. In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well…the devil…the world…[and] our flesh are raging and raving against us. Therefore dear sirs and brothers, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent

-Martin Luther, WA 53, 218; qtd. in Fred Meusner, Luther the Preacher, 41

Here I hear a call to integrity, a fittingness between each part of one’s life and the next. In fact, Luther charges us to live so that each part of life would empower the next: Let your reading foster understanding that fosters teaching that fosters holiness that fosters reading.

It’s also a call to sincerity, to a driven, clear, passionate way of living. This is fitting: Those who know Christ want more of Christ, and those who find more of Christ know Christ more deeply.

This clarion call reminds me of another charge to pastors, this one from Scripture:

For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

-2 Corinthians 2:17

If we would speak in Christ, let us pray, read, study, and live in Christ. This is a call I personally need to hear and embody, one we cannot obey too fully. Let us live and think and speak with integrity and sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God, in Christ.


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