In June 27, 1530 Martin Luther wrote a letter to challenge his timid comrade Philip Melanchthon, who was tormented by excessive fears about the reformation cause. Luther was frustrated by Melanchthon as following selection will show. Yet, his counsel served to bolster his friend. Luther’s central insight is on the mark. Melanchthon’s problem, and ours, was his failure to battle his own unbelief.
“With all my heart I hate those cares by which you state that you are consumed. They rule your heart, not on account of the greatness of the cause but by reason of the greatness of your unbelief. The same cause existed in the time of John Huss and many others, and they had a harder time of it than we do. Great though our cause, its Author and Champion is also great, for the cause is not ours. Why, then, are you constantly tormenting yourself?”
“What good do you expect to accomplish by these vain worries of yours? What can the devil do more than slay us? Yes what? I beg you, who are so pugnacious in everything else, fight against yourself, you own worst enemy, for you furnish Satan with too many weapons against yourself. Christ died once for our sins. He will not die again for the truth and justice, but will live and reign. If this be true, and if he reigns, why should you be afraid for the truth?”
“I pray for you very earnestly, and I am deeply pained that you keep sucking up cares like a leech and thus rendering my prayers vain. Christ knows whether it comes from stupidity or the Spirit, but I for my part am not very much troubled about our cause. Indeed, I am more hopeful than I expected to be. God, who is able to raise the dead, is also able to uphold his cause when it is falling, or to raise it up again when it has fallen, or to move it forward when it is standing.”
“If we are not strengthened by his promises, where in all the world are the people to whom these promises apply? But more of this another time. After all, my writing this is like pouring water into the sea.”