But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:17
If we should be willing to die for our fellow believers, shouldn’t we be even more willing to give up our property and belongings? If we have possessions and don’t share them, if we don’t give food, drink, clothing, and so on – in other words, if we are greedy and stingy – then we aren’t Christians.
Today, people are loudly complaining that those who have come to know Christ are the ones hoarding money. This is happening to such an extent that they fear God may unleash his wrath soon. Of course, God is merciful, but he isn’t idle. He doesn’t let sinners go unpublished. He’s merciful to the humble who fear him.
It’s foolish to interpret this passage as referring only to people in extreme need. Besides, there are several degrees of love: we shouldn’t offend an enemy; we should help out a fellow believer; and we should support a member of our household. We know Christ’s commandment about loving our enemies. But we owe even more to a believer who loves us in return. We should help out whoever doesn’t have enough to live on. But what should we do if that person betrays us? We should help them again. We owe the most, however, to the ones related to us. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediately family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1Timothy 5:8). It’s a general rule that if a person who has property and belongings doesn’t take the need of a neighbor to heart, then that person has no love.
95 Theses are reproduced in their entirety, with an introduction and explanatory notes to aid readers in discerning the significance of Luther’s call to reformation.
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.