I was searching the web for quotations by Martin Luther and found this:
Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.
Something about it rang true. It intrigued me and challenged my thinking about sin. I have a few questions for you, my readers, and then I will offer my thoughts.
First, I wonder if anyone can place this quotation in its larger context?
Second, what is your gut reaction to this quotation?
Third, if you agree with Luther how do you read him? What does he mean?
Fourth, if you disagree with him, why? What does he mean?
My gut reaction. It seems Luther isn’t diminishing sin but magnifying grace. If I’m reading him correctly Satan is making accusations against the believer for things within his freedom. Notice the “sins” listed (friendship, drinking, merry making, recreation, sport, etc)? Satan “convicts” these believers to avoid these things. To reckon them as their righteousness instead of Christ. Reminds me a lot of fundamentalism’s tendency to make freedoms forbidden.
Luther’s answers? Enjoy these “sins” freely in Christ to spite the devil.