Death and eternal life rest in the hands of God. He gives one or the other to people according to what they have done.
God shows mercy to those that die in the righteousness he has given them. Truly, he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but wants all men to believe.
He shows his mercy to all and gives the gift of life to those that seek it. Therefore God has no fault in the death of the wicked that reject the work of Christ, stick to their evil ways, and refuse to make a holy covenant with him.
The Lord says, “Come and learn from me. I am Life.” But the worldly walk far from him. Their faith and baptism is perverted. Their doctrines are the teachings of men. The do not know Christ but seek to enter some other way, like robbers and murderers, into the fold.
They act as if Christ’s teachings were false and pay no attention to his commands. But whoever teaches otherwise (even though he were an angel from heaven) is under a curse.
Wake up you theologians! Take care what you do, you great majority! Let what God says go deep into your heart.
God gave worldly rulers the responsibility to punish evil. But they dare not judge in matters of faith. They dare not force their thinking onto the Church that stands in a holy covenant with God.
Therefore pope and emperor, stand still! Do not even think of opposing God! Before God, your claim to holding the authority of Christ is absolutely ridiculous.
Nothing but the Holy Spirit guides the Christian Church. That is, the remnant Church, not confused with the laws of men. The Church adorned with holy virtue, filled with love and hope in faith.
The Church of Jesus wields nothing but the Spirit’s sword. It makes no use of force, of human connivings, or high education. In the Spirit’s power alone the Church moves on, though everyone stands and stares.
God gave the job of punishing evil, only to evil men. They must take care of murderers and robbers. With their power they must keep order in the land, and protect those that live in true repentance.
But the power of Christ is of another kind. Christ said, “In the world men seek to rule one another with force, but among you this shall not be so. Let the one that desires to be great, serve the rest.”
anonymous Anabaptist writer, 16’th century, Europe