May 20, 2007

Good Intentions

From today's reading in God Grant It: Daily Devotions from C.F.W. Walther:

John 16:2 -

Most people have good intentions in the sinful acts they commit. Good intentions are the fruitful mother of countless sins. They are the main comfort when people give in to sin and hold off true repentance. Therefore, good intentions are one of the mightiest snares with which Satan captures souls, keeps them in self-deception, and draws them always deeper into sin.

What Christ told the disciples in advance, as reported in today's reading, was fulfilled all too quickly. The Jews who laid hands on the apostles did not in any way intend to commit a sin. Rather, they had good intentions. They wanted to fight against the enemies of God, carry out their holy duties according to the Law, promote the right church, and offer true service to God....

Even among Protestants, good intentions have brought about unspeakable harm. While promoting holiness in the world, fanatical sects fight against reliance upon the means of grace, that is, the Word of God and the holy Sacraments. The idea that all churches and sects should outwardly unite without oneness in the truth originated in the good intention of opposing, with combined strength, the obvious enemies of the Church and helping to prepare the way for the kingdom of God by removing those things that hinder it, thus expanding the borders of Christ's dominion.

No error is as evident and pernicious, no fanaticism is as insane, and no principle is as false and perverted as this: All of the horrors described in today's meditation grew out of the good intention of serving God and pleasing Him.

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