LESSON ELEVEN

2009

LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE



I.          Thesis XIV

 

            In the tenth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when faith is required as a condition of justification and salvation, as if a person were righteous in the sight of God and saved, not only by faith, but also on account of his faith, for the sake of his       faith, and in view of his faith. " (WPD 268)

 

            A.        Preaching "made righteous in the sight of God and saved by faith." (WPD 268)

                        1.         True.

                        2.         Preacher is a "genuine evangelical preacher" (WPD 268)

                        3.         But:

                                    a.         That fact not established merely from use of these words.

                                    b.         But also "from the proper sense that must be connected with these                                                  words." (WPD 268)

                        4.         Must mean by faith what Scripture means when terms used.

                        5.         Many preachers at fault here.

                                    a.         Rationalists: use "by faith" but define as nothing more than                                                              acceptance of Christ's proclamation of moral teachings.

                                    b.         Papists: define as faith joined by love.

                                    c.         Many "moderns": faith is defined as something man produces and                                                   achieves.

            B.        Scripture says:

                        1.         By faith alone means: "Man in not saved by his own acts, but solely by the                          doing and dying of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the                                      whole world." (WPD 269)

                        2.         Faith "is not an achievement of man" (WPD 269).

                                    a.         "Moderns" teach first God must do something, the most difficult                                                    part, and then man must do his part.

                                    b.         "Moderns" are completely overthrowing the Gospel.

                        3.         Believing requires God to work.

                        4.         A free gift.

                        5.         Ro 3:(21-) 24

                                    a.         Gk: dikaioumeno dōrean.

                                    b.         "being justified freely"

                                    c.         " dōrean": "that is, gratuitously, without anything, even the least                                                      thing, being required of us." (WPD 270)

                        6.         All we have to offer is our sins.

                        7.         Ac 4:12.

                        8.         "True, if a person refuses to believe, nobody can help him." (WPD 270)

                        9.         But God attaches no condition to His gracious gift.

            C.        Predestinarian controversy discussed. (WPD 271)

                        1.         Adversaries:

                                    a.         Stumbled when confronted with doctrine that God did not foresee                                                             anything in the elect that could have prompted Him to elect them.

                                    b.         Stumbled when confronted with teaching that "His election is one                                                  of unconstrained mercy."

                                    c.         Shocked when confronted with teaching "that there are only two                                                    causes of salvation, namely, the mercy of God and the merit of                                                       Christ." (WPD 271)

                                    d.         Said that "God elected men 'in view of their faith.'" (WPD 271)

                                    e.         Is making an act of man a cause of salvation.

                        2.         Scripture and Confessions teach:

                                    a.         Law has conditions to promises.

                                    b.         Promises of Gospel are free gifts.

                                    c.         Ro 4:16.

            D.        When Lord says "Believe".

                        1.         Is not a demand.

                        2.         Is "an urgent invitation to man to take..." (WPD 272)

                        3.         "Non-acceptance forfeits the gift, but not because there was a condition                                         attached to it." (WPD 272)

            E.         Walther discusses writings of John Gerhard and others (WPD 271-274)

                        1.         The term "if":

                                    a.         Is etiological if it signifies the cause, or reason (e.g. promises of                                                       Law)

                                    b.         Is syllogistic if it signifies a consequence (e.g. promises of Gospel)                                      (WPD 272)

                        2.         Faith  "is merely a passive instrument" (WPD 272)

                        3.         God prompts us to hold out our hands after He has prepared us, sinners,                                         for the Gospel by means of His Law.  (WPD 274)

                        4.         Faith is "a means", not "a cause". (WPD 274)

                        5.         Faith in believers is also imperfect.

                        6.         But our redemption is perfect and complete.

                        7.         Faith "is nothing else than the appropriation of the atonement, satisfaction,                                                 and reconciliation of Christ." (WPD 274)

                        8.         2Co 5:14,(15)

                        9.         End of 25th Lecture

            F.         26th Lecture begun (WPD 275)

                        1.         True minister:

                                    a.         Genuine faith not sufficient.

                                    b.         But also have "the ability to express in proper terms the things that                                                  must be believed." (WPD 275)

                        2.         2Ti 1:13: must present the true faith in "sound words".

                        3.         Must be "in clear, plain, unmistakable, and adequate terms." (WPD 275)

                        4.         Must be cautious of "dangerous rationalistic terminology" e.g. calling                                              "Gospel" the "teaching of Jesus". (WPD 275)

                        5.         Many "moderns" are afraid to use technical terms because fear they might                                      offend hearers, e.g.

                                    a.         avoiding "hereditary sin"

                                    b.         avoiding "wrath of God"

                                    c.         avoiding "blindness of natural man"

                                    d.         avoiding "devil as a roaring lion seeking to devour" (WPD 275)

                        6.         Ministers must:

                                    a.         Believe as the Church believes.

                                    b.         Also, speak "in harmony with the Christian Church" (WPD 276)

                        7.         Our pastors must not deviate from Confessions at all.

                        8.         1Co 1:10

                                    a.         Gk: hina to auto legēte pantes

                                    b.         "that the same thing you say all"

                                    c.         Not to use "divergent terms when expounding the same doctrine"                                                   (WPD 277)

                                    d.         Use proper terms, that may "be united in the same mind and the                                                      same judgment."

                                    e.         Therefore two things required:

                                                (1)        "same doctrine in the same terms", and

                                                (2)        "same mind and judgment" (WPD 277)

 

II.        Thesis XV

                                               

            In the eleventh place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Gospel is          turned into a preaching of repentance.  (WPD 277)

 

            A.        Term "Gospel" has a usage similar to "repentance".

                        1.         "Repentance": has a wide and a narrow sense.

                                    a.         Wide sense: signifies conversion viewed in its entirety (knowledge                                      of sin, contrition, and faith).

                                    b.         Ac 2:38 ' "repent" inclusive of faith.

                                    c.         Narrow sense: signifies knowledge of sin and contrition.

                                    d.         Mk 1:(14), 15

                                    e.         Ac 20:21.

                                    f.          Mt 21:32 (ou metemelēthēte: "not felt sorry/repented")

                        2.         "Gospel": sometimes wide, sometimes narrow meaning.

                                    a.         Narrow sense is the "proper sense" (WPD 278)

                                    b.         Wide sense: " used merely by way of synecdoche, signifying                                                           anything that Jesus preached" (WPD 278)

                                    c.         Ro 2:(15), 16: Gospel in wide sense.

                                    d.         Narrow sense has nothing to do with the Judgment.

                                    e.         Ro 1:16: Gospel in narrow sense.

                                    f.          Eph 6:15: "Law does not bring peace" (WPD 279)

            B.        Thesis is that when Gospel, in narrow sense, is turned into preaching of                                          repentance is a commingling of Law and Gospel.

                        1.         Ap. XII, 29 (Tappert, pp. 185, 186; Kolb & Wengert, p.p. 191, 192;                                                Triglotta, p.259): use in wide sense.

                        2.         Ap. XII, 53, 54 (Tappert, p. 189; Kolb & Wengert, p. 195; Triglotta, p.                                           265): narrow sense.

                        3.         Walther discusses false teachings on this by John Agricola, "the                                                       antinomian fanatic" (WPD 280) followed by "the Philippists" (WPD 281)                                       and others.

                        4.         "The Antinomians who opposed Luther may have been well-intentioned                                         men, but they were Pharisees." (WPD 283)

                        5.         FC, Ep., V, 6-11 (Tappert, pp. 478, 479; Kolb & Wengert, p.p. 500, 501,                                        Triglotta, p.p 801-805.

                        6.         End of 26th Lecture.

            C.        27th Lecture begins:

                        1.         Walther begins with discussion of the 3 estates of mankind:

                                    a.         Teachers: those who teach "in the Church and in the schools."

                                    b.         Producers: "peasants, artists, and scholars."

                                    c.         Defenders: "governors, state officers, jurists and soldiers" (WPD                                                     284)

                        2.         All to be esteemed: Ps111:3

                        3.         Estate of teachers: little respected, "most glorious" (WPD 285)

                                    a.         Work centered about man's immortal soul.

                                    b.         Employ "the most salutary means", the Word of God

                                    c.         Aim at true happiness this life and "eternal bliss"

                                    d.         Engaged in occupation that "entirely satisfies their spirits and                                                          advances their own selves in the way of salvation."

                                    e.         Labor yields the salvation of man.

                                    f.          Labors have "the most glorious promise of the cooperation of the                                                    Lord, so....never entirely futile".

                                    g.         "Labors have the promise of a gracious reward".

            D.        Two additional objections raised against Thesis XV.

                        1.         Objected that Bible calls Gospel a law.

                                    a.         e.g. Ro 3:27: truth is that Paul is using "the figure of antanaclasis":                                                  using same word as opponent, in a different meaning, so as to refute                                                           (e.g. Jn 6:28,29)

                                    b.         Must employ "rules of rhetoric" for proper understanding of                                                            Scriptures.

                                    c.         e.g. "wages of sin" is death.

                        2.         Objection raised on basis of Ro 10:16

                                    a.         Argue that "Gospel" is really improved law.

                                    b.         Truth is that we are to "obey" His will, not only expressed in Law,                                                  "but also His gracious will." (WPD 287)

                                    c.         "By His gracious will, God offers and gives us all things." (WPD                                                    287)

                                    d.         "It is an act of kindness on God's part to call it obedience" when                                                     we accept what He gives. (WPD 287,288)

                                    e.         "Gerhard writes: 'The accusation of unbelief belongs to the Law as                                                  illumined by the light of the Gospel.  Luther takes cognizance of                                                     this fact when he says that the work of believing in Christ and the                                                         contrary sin of unbelief are related to the First Commandment.'"                                                      (quoted, WPD 288, citation omitted).

                                    f.          "Luther speaks of faith as a return to the First Commandment."                                                       (WPD 288)

                                    g.         Walther quotes extensively here from Luther.

                                    h.         "Luther correctly remarks that the mere regarding of the Gospel as                                                  a truthful record is not justifying faith.  A person must believe that                                                  what the Gospel says concerns him." (WPD 291)

            E.         Scripture re: Gospel in strict sense: "5 marks" (WPD 294)

                        1.         "Whenever the Gospel is contrasted with the Law, it is quite certain that                                         the term Gospel does not refer to the Gospel in the wide, but in the narrow                                    sense." (WPD 294)

                                    a.         Eph 2:14-17.

                                    b.         Law does not bring peace.

                                    c.         Gospel follows Law and brings peace.

                        2.         "Whenever the Gospel is presented as the peculiar teaching of Christ or as                                      the doctrine that proclaims Christ, it cannot refer to the Law at the same                                         time." (WPD 294)

                                    a.         Jn 1:17.

                                    b.         Jesus "purged the Law from the false interpretations of the                                                              Pharisees. (WPD 294)

                                    c.         Lk 4: (17-21).

                                    d.         Ac 17:18: "The doctrine which has Jesus for its subject is the                                                           Gospel in the strict sense." (WPD 294)

                                    e.         1Co 15:1-4.

                                    f.          Ro 16:25,26.

                                    g.         Gal 1:6-7.

                        3.         "Whenever poor sinners are named as the subject to whom the Gospel is                                         addressed, you may be certain that the reference is to the Gospel in the                                           strict sense." (WPD 295)

                                    a.         Mt 11:(4), 5.

                                    b.         Lk 4:18 (again).

                        4.         "Whenever forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and salvation by grace are                                         named as effects of the Gospel the reference is to the Gospel in the strict                                        sense." (WPD 295)

                                    a.         Ro 1:16.

                                    b.         Eph 1:13, (14).

                        5.         "When faith is named as the correlate of the Gospel, the reference is to the                                     Gospel in the strict sense." (WPD 295)

                                    a.         Mk 1:15.

                                    b.         Mk 16:15,16: (Remarks re: damnation of unbelievers are Law).

                        6.         End of 27th Lecture.

            F.         28th Lecture

                        1.         Begins with discussion of preparing a sermon.

                        2.         Words of sermon must:

                                    a.         Not be product merely of pastor's "genius". (WPD 296)

                                    b.         Be "a clear knowledge drawn from the Word of God." (WPD 296).

                        3.         2Ti 2:15.

 

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