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14. Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear.

Martin Luther realized that those who were dying were keenly aware of the fact that in their lives they had not lived perfectly or loved perfectly. As their death approaches they fear what the punishment may be for their imperfect life. The greater the imperfections in their life and in their love the greater the fear, Luther says in this Theses.

A great part of the problem is that human beings feel that whatever they broke, they can fix. So if they have been unloving and disobedient toward God, they can make it up by doing a better job of living and loving. By nature we think in terms of a balance scale, the good things that we do on the one side and the bad things that we do on the other side. When we are dying there is no comfort in this kind of thinking, because we are never sure that our good will outweigh the bad. There is more bad news with this scenario and that is that the bad things are still there, they do not go away and those bad things separate us from God.

Luther came to realize that God looks at us in a totally different way. He is not the judge who measures our good works and finds us wanting, rather He is the loving Father who pays for our sin and completely takes it away. When we believe that in Jesus Christ our own sin is taken away then we can be confident at the time of death that we do not stand on our own merit but we stand pure and holy through the work of Jesus Christ. Therefore we do not fear death, but we walk through it as the next step in our journey into God’s presence.

Prayer

I come to You my loving Father through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. In Him I am free to be all that you created me to be. Help me to live my life with the love of God each day and not live in fear of death. May Your kingdom come here on earth. In Jesus Name, Amen.