Johann Gerhard


Johann Gerhard is considered one of the fathers of Lutheranism along with other popular theologians such as Martin Luther, and Philip Melanchthon. He was a great teacher and theologian in the church, and wrote many great works. My favorite piece of writing from Dr. Gerhard is his Handbook of Consolations: For the Fears and Trials That Oppress Us in the Struggle with Death.


“I urge you with all sincerity that when you are truly contrite in your inmost heart for the sins you have committed, look to Him, who died for you on the altar of the Cross. He did this so that you would not be subject to eternal death. Turn your eyes from the outward appearance of death and place them on Christ who by His death has destroyed him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; And has delivered us who, through fear of death, were all our lifetime subject to bondage (Heb 2: 14– 15). He is the death of our death (Hos 13: 14); He is the sting to the Hell we deserved; He is the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Him, though he die, shall live; and everyone who lives and believes in Him shall never die (John 11: 25– 26).” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“…in Christ, the Captain of Life and Victor of Death, we are all made alive through faith. Our Captain of Life confirms this by a solemn and serious oath: Truly, truly I say to you, he that hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and shall not come into judgment but shall pass from death to life (John 5: 24). And again, Truly, Truly I say to you, if any one keeps My word, he shall never see death (John 8: 51). Therefore believe in Christ, who is the Truth (John 14: 6); believe Him promising, believe Him swearing, Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but the words of Christ shall not pass away (Luke 21: 33).” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“Look to Christ hanging on the altar of the Cross and pouring out His precious blood for your sins. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cleanses you from all sin: He is the propitiation for your sins and for the sins of the whole world.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“It was Christ who shed His own blood for the remission of sins, who bore our sins in His own body on the Cross, who was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. The Lord laid on Him, as a stream made to rush headlong onto Him, the sins of us all. God made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us. That is, He imputed to Him our sins. He placed on Him the punishment of our sins. He made Him a sacrifice for our sins.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolation)

“He made through Himself a full and perfect purification of our sins, and by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. By His blood He cleanses us from our sins. Therefore, believe such plain, clear, and carefully expressed words of the Holy Spirit and firmly know that the suffering and death of Christ made a complete and sufficient satisfaction for your sins.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“Since He is an infinitely great person who has made satisfaction for us, shall not His suffering be of infinite merit? What is so deadly that could not be healed by the death of the Son of God who is Life Himself? What is so bloody and defiled that could not be cleansed by the precious blood of the Son of God?” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“Let this be firmly fixed in your mind: Christ has purged, abolished, and extinguished by His death and one true sacrifice whatever sins the principalities and powers might justly hold against us for punishment.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“You shall possess many good things of the Lord when you gather by the vessel of faith. For faith clings to Christ, and in Christ there is a merciful God, the remission of sins, and eternal life. Hear these words of eternal and immovable truth as they tell about these things: God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“Look at the mirror of the Law and it will reveal the deformity of your sins. Look at the radiance of Moses’ face and it will blind you because you endlessly pursue works of darkness and are not able to endure such light. Look at yourself and how severely your sickness has weakened and crushed you. This is the just punishment for your sins, the scourge of a delivering God, the appropriate reward for a life spent in transgression…” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“The Lord kills and brings to life; He brings down to hell and raises up. He kills by contrition and makes alive by consolation. He brings us down to hell by the hammer of the Law so that He might raise us up by the comfort of the Gospel.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“If you wish to flee, flee to Christ. He lovingly invites all who labor under the weight of sin and who are pressed with the yoke of that evil mistress, iniquity. Hide yourself in His wounds and the tempest of divine wrath will pass over you. Christ is the propitiator, to whom you are able to flee with a true faith and find rest in the shadow of His wings.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“When Moses accuses you, sigh deeply so that Christ may intercede for you.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“The infernal hawk presses hard and pursues your soul. Therefore, let it flee like a fearful and terrified dove to the cliffs of the rock, which are the wounds of Christ.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“There is yet another essential property of true faith: you must gaze with the eye of the heart upon Christ hanging on the Cross; you must hope for and draw out the medicine for your wounds from His wounds; you must recline upon Him with a true and faithful heart; and you must, as it were, wrap yourself in His most holy merit.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“Although your sins are great, diverse, and many times repeated, they are not so great and serious that you cannot obtain pardon and forgiveness for them. Accordingly, the goodness of God is greater than the iniquity of all men.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“Where sins are in decline in the west, there the grace of God is on the rise in the east. Sins are the work of the devil and men. To have compassion and mercy, to forgive, these are works of God. As far as the power of God exceeds the devil and man, so far is His mercy above our wickedness.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“You must learn from these temptations how you have absolutely no power in yourself to do what is good, so you might cleave completely to God alone with a faithful heart. This is the highest and greatest battle in your fight against Satan. Beware lest your soul despair at this point.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“The seed lies hidden and concealed under the sod of the earth, even though it does not as yet protrude with even the smallest evidence of growth. Similarly, the seed of faith lies hidden in the heart, even when its fruit does not as yet appear plainly and abundantly. When you sleep, you do not feel your faith. But who would argue that faith has perished at such times? So in this temptation our soul is oppressed, as it were, with a certain sleep. Although you feel little movement of your faith, do not, for this reason, think the faith you so long for is extinct.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“The Holy Spirit will truly complete, truly complete, I say, that work of faith which He has begun in you. Take heed, however, that you not overturn His salutary work. You should by no means think that you must first wait for some feeling or movement kindled in your heart before you will hear, reflect on, and receive the Word of the Gospel.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“He who locks away this Word and clings to it with a true faith shall be saved forever.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“God has given you not only His Word but also has added sacraments by His word, which are, in a sense, the Word made visible – the visible signs of an invisible grace, and seals of divine promises, instituted to confirm and nourish your faith.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“By Baptism you were received into the covenant of divine grace, made a child and heir of God, washed from your sins by the blood of Christ, regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit, and, in short, truthfully made a partaker of heavenly good.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“The water of Baptism was sanctified by the touch of the Lord’s body. Whatever Christ merited and obtained in the body of His flesh, He deposited it, as it were, in His Baptism. He received Baptism with us who are sinners in order to testify that we by Baptism are made His members. As in the Baptism of Christ the eternal Father declared with His voice, ‘This is my beloved Son,’ so too today He adopts as sons all who believe and are baptized.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

If you are baptized, you can by no means doubt that you have the grace of God, remission of sins, and the promise of eternal life.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“God forbid that we should ever say that the faithfulness of God is nullified by the faithlessness of men.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“The ship of Baptism does not break apart even if we jump overboard into the seas of sins. By repentance, which, in this case, is to acknowledge our shipwreck, we may return again to that same ship of Baptism and be brought in it to the port of eternal salvation.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“The Lord’s Supper: Here you receive the body that Christ gave into death for you and the cup of blood that Christ poured out on the altar of the Cross for your sins. Since you receive in that Holy Supper the most holy price of your redemption, the body and blood of Christ, you may be certain that you truly partake of all those things that Christ has merited on the altar of the Cross when He surrendered His body and shed His blood. That is to say, you truly have the grace of God, the remission of sins, righteousness, life, and eternal salvation.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“Christ joins His most holy and life-giving body to your miserable and depraved nature that you may draw from Him the drink of life and the antidote for that spiritual poison that lies hidden in your flesh.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations) “The impurity of your nature is overshadowed and covered by that most holy body of Christ, which you receive, and the most precious blood, which you drink, such that it does not appear before the judgement seat of God. Therefore, the body and blood of Christ are received by you for the purpose of an acceptable defense and pledge of eternal life, for the confirmation and preservation of the soul and body, and for the remission of sins and eternal life.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“By acknowledging and lamenting your unworthiness, you will avoid the stain of being an unworthy guest. The Apostle does not call those who are weak in faith unworthy. Indeed, the Sacrament was instituted for the encouragement of faith and the comforting of the weak. The unworthy are those who do not examine themselves or discern the Lord’s body.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“Do not doubt that the most kind Father will run to meet you, kiss you, and embrace you with joy. He will give you the best robe of innocence, He will clothe you in the garment of salvation, He will put a ring on your hand, He will seal you with the Holy Spirit, He will place shoes on your feet, He will guide you in the way of peace and righteousness, He will fill you with the flesh of that victim who was sacrificed on the altar of the Cross and was offered as a sweet odor to Him. Therefore, put aside all fear of eating in an unworthy manner. He who is most unworthy in his own eyes is accepted before God.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)

“The smallest spark of faith is the work of the Holy Spirit because by ourselves and from ourselves we are not able to think even something good. Indeed, to will and to do is from God.” – Johann Gerhard (Handbook of Consolations)


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