LESSON TEN

2009

LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE



I.          Thesis XII

 

            In the eighth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the preacher             represents contrition alongside of faith as a cause of the forgiveness of sin"            (WPD             249)

 

            A.        Contrition

                        1.         There is no doubt of its necessity if person wishes to obtain forgiveness of   sins.

                        2.         Mt 4:17.

                        3.         When "repent" placed opposite to faith, signifies nothing else than  contrition.

                        4.         Lk 24: (45), 46,47.

                        5.         Why necessary?

                                    a.         Mt. 9:12,13.

                                    b.         Without contrition "no one is fit to be made a believer." (WPD  249).

                                    c.         Pr 27:7.

                                    d.         No spiritual hunger and thirst, means Jesus is not received.  

                        6.         But is still not a cause of forgiveness.

            B.        Making contrition a cause of forgiveness is commingling of Law and Gospel - Why?

                        1.         "Contrition is an effect solely of the Law." (WPD 250).

                        2.         "Contrition is not even a good work". (WPD 250).

                                    a.         Is nothing but suffering.

                                    b.         Not an anguish produced by man.                 

                                    c.         Man would gladly be rid of it.

            C.        Commingling in preaching

                        1.         Can occur when say too little or too much re:contrition.

                        2.         Typically still will have preached contrition first, but add some "saving  clause" to that statement. (WPD 250).

                        3.         This "comforting qualification" really is a presentation of contrition as a  cause of forgiveness.

                        4.         What should be said?

                                    "'Listen! When you have come to the point where you are hungering and  thirsting for the grace of God, you have the contrition which you need.  God does not require contrition as a means by which you are to atone for  your sins, but only to the end that you may be roused from your security  and ask, "What must I do to be saved?'" (WPD 250-251)

            D.        "Repentance"

                        1.         When Luther discovered meaning of term (Latin: poenitentia), no word sweeter to him.

                        2.         Learned it meant "simply that he must be alarmed on account of his sins and desire the mercy of God." (WPD 251)

                        3.         Was the very Gospel.

            E.         Sufficient contrition

                        1.         Must not inquire whether a person's contrition is sufficient for proclaiming the Gospel.

                        2.         His question re: fitness shows sufficiency to hear Gospel.

                        3.         Can have contrition without being aware of it.

                        4.         Awareness of being a lost sinner is sufficient.

                        5.         However, statement "that God is satisfied with a person's mere desire to  have contrition is evidence of a mingling of Law and Gospel; for such a                                         statement represents contrition as a merit on account of which God is   gracious to a sinner and forgives him his sins." (WPD 251).

                        6.         Same mistake when pastor readily satisfied with slight sign of contrition in  parishioners.

                        7.         Example: only alarmed by a particular sin, while holding on to being  otherwise of "good heart".

                                    a.         Not contrition.

                                    b.         But pastor must not proceed to describe the "quality" of necessary  contrition.

                                    c.         No Scriptural text sets forth the "same degree of contrition" for every sinner.

                        8.         When "hunger and thirst for mercy", sufficient.

                        9.         Also, no prescribed length of time of contrition.

                        10.       Can not come too Jesus to soon after contrition.

            F.         Distinguishing between daily repentance of believers and the repentance preceding faith.

                        1.         Failure to distinguish is a primary reason for comingling of Law and Gospel.

                        2.         Daily repentance.

                        3.         Ps 51: speaks of daily repentance.

                        4.         "The great majority of sincere Christians who have the pure doctrine have  a keener experience of repentance after faith than of repentance prior to                                          faith." (WPD 254)

                        5.         Smitten repeatedly so as to remain humble.

                        6.         Daily repentance.

                                    a.         Not "a mere effect of the Law, produced by the Law alone." (WPD   254).

                                    b.         Is, at same time, "an operation of the Gospel" (WPD 254)

                                    c.         Gospel brings love of God within heart.

                                    d.         "When contrition proceeds from love of God, it is indeed a truly  sweet sorrow, acceptable to God." (WPD 254)

                        7.         S.A. III, III, 1-18 (Tappert, pp 304-306; Kolb & Wengert, pp 312-315; Triglotta, pp 479-483)

 

                        8.         End of 23rd Lecture.

            G.        24th Lecture (WPD 258)

                        1.         Begins with discussion of Rationalism in Germany of 1700's.

                        2.         A complete defection from the Gospel.

                        3.         Preachers treated subjects such as:

                                    a.         Intelligent Agriculture

                                    b.         Tree-planting a necessity.

                                    c.         Importance of Genuine Sanitation.

                        4.         Some rationalists were ashamed of "these typical products of the school of Rationalism" (WPD 259).

                        5.         But also said treating doctrines of faith first only confused people.

                        6.         But must present "exclusively practical ethical lessons." (WPD 259)

                        7.         Walther thought those times were over - COMMENT: AGREE? NO

 

II.        Thesis XIII

 

            In the ninth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when one makes an  appeal to believe in a manner as if a person could make himself believe or at least            help toward that end, instead of preaching faith into a person's heart by laying the Gospel promises before Him.  (WPD 260)

 

            A.        Thesis does not declare it to be error when preacher makes urgent demand to hearers to believe.

                        1.         Demand made by all prophets.

                        2.         Demand is not demand of Law.

                        3.         Issue is "sweetest invitation".

                        4.         Lk 14:17.

            B.        Error is teaching that man can produce faith in himself.

                        1.         Would turn faith into a work.

                        2.         Preacher "must be able to preach a sermon on faith without ever using the term faith." (WPD 260)

                        3.         Must arouse in sinner desire to lay burden of sin at feet of Jesus "and say to Him 'Thou art mine, and I am Thine.'" (WPD 260)

            C.        "(W)here Luther reveals his true greatness." (WPD 260)

                        1.         Rarely appeals to hearers to believe.

                        2.         Preaches "work of Christ, salvation by grace, and the riches of God's  mercy in Jesus Christ." (WPD 260)

                        3.         Moment person thinks that if preaching is true, they are blessed, their anguish useless, and they are perfectly redeemed, reconciled, and one of                                        His, he attains to faith.

            D.        If spend time telling them must believe to be saved, likely to create impression  faith is a required work.

            E.         Yet must preach about faith.

                        1.         What it signifies.

                        2.         How it is attained.

                        3.         Saying faith is required is not saying that man can produce it himself.

                                    a.         Law demands do not mean we can do it.

                                    b.         Maxim: "No valid conclusion can be drawn from an obligation to the ability to meet it."  (WPD 262)

                        4.         "(S)ynergists have put poison in the Gospel, denied the Lord Christ, and made His grace to be of none effect." (WPD 262)

                                    a.         Walther discusses Melanchthon's synergism.

                                    b.         Discusses Melanchthon to show why "Missourians" with "our  rigorous minds, are scenting synergism everywhere." (WPD 263)

                                    c.         Grace is universal.

                                    d.         But some "willfully resist grace". (WPD 263)

                                    e.         Here we confront "an unscrutable mystery." (WPD 263)

                                    f.          Failure to acknowledge this mystery is to abandon Christianity.

                                    g.         Ro 11:33-36.

                                    h.         End of 24th Lecture.

            F.         25th Lecture (WPD 265)

                        1.         Begins with discussion of great difficulty of preaching pure Gospel whilealso refuting false teaching.

                        2.         Discusses Athanasius with Arians.

                        3.         Also Luther not following Staupitz in quietly teaching pure Gospel to rother monks without attacking Papacy's false teaching.

                        4.         We are "the light of the world" and its "salt".

                        5.         Mt 10:34 (-39).

                        6.         Church lives in world that is Satan's domain.

                        7.         Church Militant, not Church at ease.

                        8.         Shepherds

                                    a.         lead to good pastures.

                                    b.         fight off wolves.

                                    c.         Mt 25:21.

                        9.         "(E)rrors are the more harmful, the more they are concealed." (WPD 268)

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