The holy martyrs, the greatest lovers of God, were drowned to death, but the fire of divine love was not thereby extinguished in them. The tyrants beat, pierced, and cut their bodies, but the bond of love by which they were united with God the Lord they were unable to sever or suffocate.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:115.
God is absolutely holy and just. Therefore, He cannot pardon fallen people and make them holy in their present condition. However, it is His immutable will, purely from His grace, to admit into heaven those who humble themselves before Him, who seek His grace with contrite hearts, and who, with hearts of faith, avail themselves of the reconciliation brought about by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 490.