Luther’s view on mortal sin

Beloved Friends,
I had to laugh out loud at Luther’s masterful and confident view on mortal sin. I was studying 1 John 5:13-18, in which it speaks of mortal sins and not mortal sins. Luther criticizes the devil for making more out of sin than should be made. It is nearly Luther’s definition of the devil, that the devil is that vicious voice that attacks tender consciences (toxic shame voice). I found it powerful that in addressing the concern many of you have expressed to me over the years, which I also have, the toxic shame voice that accuses me that I do not believe enough! Here is what Luther says, “At times the Spirit overcomes unbelief and the emotions, and thus [one] does not sin.” In other words, my shame filled (therefore arrogant) expectations need to be adjusted, so that I praise God for the times I DO BELIEVE rather than criticizing myself (with the voice of the devil) for the times (I think) I do not!

Peace and power to you from Christ,
Pastor Jami Fecher

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 30: The Catholic Epistles. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 30, p. 326). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.