Moving on to lecture 13, continuing to discuss:
In the fourth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Law is preached to those who are already in terror an account of their sins or the Gospel to those who live securely in their sins.
We finished our consideration of the first part of Thesis VIII, which declares that the Word of God is not rightly divided if the Law is preached to such as are already alarmed over their sins. We proceed to the second part of the thesis, which tells us that the Word of God is not rightly divided if the Gospel is preached to such as live securely in their sins.
The latter error is as dangerous as the former. Incalculable damage is done if the consolations of the Gospel are offered to secure sinners, or if one preaches to a multitude in such a manner that secure sinners in the audience, by the preacher’s fault, imagine that the comfort of the Gospel is meant for them. A preacher who does this may preach crowds of people into hell instead of into heaven. No, the Gospel is not intended for secure sinners. We cannot, of course, prevent secure sinners from coming into our churches and hearing the Gospel, and it devolves upon the preacher to offer the entire comfort of the Gospel in all its sweetness, however, in such a manner that secure sinners realize that the comfort is not intended for them. The whole manner of the preacher’s presentation must make them realize that fact. Let me offer you a few proof-texts from Scripture for what I have said.
Matt. 7, 6 our Lord says to His disciples: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you. A remarkable utterance! What is meant by “that which is holy”? Nothing else than the Word of Christ. What is meant by “pearls”? The consolation of the Gospel, with the grace, righteousness, and salvation which it proclaims. Of these things we are not to speak to dogs, that is, to enemies of the Gospel; nor to swine, that is, to such as want to remain in their sins and are seeking their heaven and their bliss in the filth of their sins.