LESSON TWELVE

2009

LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE



I.          Thesis XVI

 

            In the twelfth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the preacher            tries to make people believe that they are truly converted as soon as they have            become rid of certain vices and engage in certain works of piety and virtuous        practises. (WPD 299)

 

            A.        Thesis of great importance

                        1.         A worse commingling of Law and Gospel not possible.

                        2.         Turns Gospel into Law.

                        3.         Makes conversion a work of man.

                        4.         Genuine conversion effected only by Gospel.

            B.        "Grossest" form of commingling is faith of rationalists.

                        1.         Teach that putting away of vices and become different men first.

                        2.         Then, they teach, we shall put away particular sins and begin to exercise                                         ourselves in good works.  (WPD 300).

                        3.         Taught by "pagans, Reformed Jews, and Turks."  (WPD 300).

                        4.         Is teaching emptying "great river of iniquity" one pail at a time.  (WPD                                           300).

                        5.         Teach just quit doing bad things.

                        6.         A teaching of "moralists".  (WPD 300).

            C.        True teaching.

                        1.         Gk: metanoeite: "change your mind".

                        2.         "Luther translates correctly: 'Repent'". (WPD 300)

                        3.         A change of innermost self is required.

                        4.         Requires "a new mind, a new heart, a new spirit." (WPD 300).

                        5.         "Rationalism and Romanism prune the noxious tree, but for every branch                                        which they cut off new branches sprout forth, all of them still noxious."                                          (WPD 300).

                        6.         "A tree of this kind must be grafted; sound branches must be inserted into                                      it if it is to bear different fruit."  (WPD 300).

            D.        Scripture

                        1.         Jn 3:1-8.

                                    a.         Flattery rebuffed.

                                    b.         Must become "a different being". (WPD 301)

                        2.         Mt 12:33.

                        3.         Mt. 15:13.

                                    a.         Only works wrought by God are good.

                                    b.         "A Christian is quick to discern whether any work of his has been                                                   planted by God or by Adam."  (WPD 301).

                                    c.         If can not discern this, no metanoia, no change of heart.

                        4.         Jer. 4:3.

                        5.         1Co 13:3

                                    a.         It is not the works that are all-important.

                                    b.         It's the love from which they proceed.

                        6.         Ro 14:23.

            E.         Mistakes made in applying church discipline.

                        1.         Is also a commingling of Law and Gospel.

                        2.         Examples.

                                    a.         Drunkard-suspended-watched for three  months-sober-

                                                "must be converted" - still godless.

                                    b.         Profane - quits cursing for a while - same problem.

                                    c.         "Or take the case of a person who is negligent in church                                                                   attendance, who, therefore, certainly is not a Christian." (WPD                                                        303).

                        3.         "The aforementioned persons must be made to realize that no Christian                                           acts like them; if he does, he cannot possibly be in a state of grace.  But it                                       requires labor on the part of the minister till these persons are reborn by                                            the Word of God." (WPD 303)

                        4.         Per M. Luther: Must first tell them they are spiritually dead.

                        5.         Must tell them that any good in their living will not help with forgiveness.

                        6.         Must be born again and made new.

                        7.         Then tell them what this new birth must be like.

                        8.         New birth by Spirit and by water of Baptism.

                        9.         Then what is done in the regenerate state is good (WPD 304f).

                        10.       Everything that regenerate person does is God's work.

            F.         28th Lecture ends with more Luther writings on examples.

            G.        29th Lecture begins.

                        1.         Rev 3:15,16.

                        2.         "...it is worse to be a lukewarm than a cold minister." (WPD 307).

                        3.         "...it is worse to be a lazy and indifferent minister, who serves in his office                                     because it is the profession in which he is making his living, than to be                                            manifestly ungodly."  (WPD 307).

                        4.         People follow pastors into spiritual sleep.

                        5.         But, at least some "good souls" turn away from preacher with manifestly                                        ungodly life or who teaches false doctrine." (WPD 307).

                        6.         To lukewarm and cold ministers: Mt. 7:23.

                        7.         Faithful minister must be "warm" (WPD 307).

                                    a.         Heart aglow with love of his Savior.

                                    b.         And of his congregation.

                                    c.         2Co 5:13: must manifest greater earnestness and zeal than a                                                             majority of members. (WPD 307.)

                                    d.         Must take his ministry seriously. (WPD 308).

                                    e.         But without exceeding what Word declares.

 

II.        Thesis XVII

 

            In the thirteenth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when a description is   given of faith, both as regards its strength and the consciousness and productiveness   of it, that does not fit all believers at all times.

 

            A.        Common mistake of young ministers.

                        1.         Desire to impress and rouse people out of their "natural security".

                        2.         Must not exceed Word or risks harm.

                        3.         Christians " are in many respects quite different from the descriptions,                                            bona-fide descriptions, at that, which are given of them in sermons."                                               (WPD 308)

                        4.         Minister must not have ultimate aim of rousing them and warning against                                       self-deception.

                        5.         Ultimate aim must be to lead them to assurance of forgiveness, hope of                                          "future blessed life", and "confidence to meet death cheerfully". (WPD                                          308)

                        6.         Frequently, Christians act in very unchristian manner.

            B.        Scripture

                        1.         Ro 7:18: Christian as a "double being". (WPD 309).

                        2.         Ro 7:14,24: When Christian sees what a miserable sinner he is, clings to                                          Christ all the more.

                        3.         Php 3:12.

                                    a.         Believers follow after, but do not apprehend.

                                    b.         May seem to be "holier" at particular times.

                                    c.         May be the case due to "spiritual retrogression." (WPD 309).

                                    d.         But may be due to plainer sight of his frailty.

                        4.         Gal 5:17: rashness or weakness can cause Christian to sin.

                        5.         Jas 3:2:i.e., no one is perfect.

                        6.         Heb 12:1: sin besets us continually.

                        7.         Is 64:6.

                        8.         Job 14:4.

                        9.         Lord's Prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses."

            C.        Some preachers:

                        1.         Teach that Christians have nothing but pleasant feelings. (WPD 311).

                        2.         Or that unbelievers are tormented by their consciences.

                        3.         Not so.

            D.        "[T]he blessedness of Christians does not consist in pleasant feelings, but in their                            assurance that is spite of the bitterest feelings imaginable they are accepted with                            God and in their dying hour will be received into heaven." (WPD 312)

            E.         Preachers

                        1.         Must never utter anything contradictory to the experience of Christians.

                        2.         Must not instill doubt of His love for them.  

                        3.         Must remember "that a Christian retains his natural temperament even                                             after his conversion." (WPD 312)

                        4.         Must not make a criterion of a Christian never commits a gross sin.

                        5.         Must not represent that a Christian does not fear death, because majority                                        do.

                        6.         Even pride, "one of the worst vices... sometimes crops out even in true                                            Christians."  (WPD 314).

                        7.         Can not portray Christians as "always fervent in prayer." (WPD 314)

                        8.         "In judging any person, it is of decisive importance to know whether he                                          loves the Word of God and his Savior of whether he is hardened and leads                                                a shameful life."  (WPD 314)

                        9.         May refer to "actions of strong or exceptionally faithful Christians."                                                 (WPD 315)

                        10.       Finishes 29th Lecture discussing Luther on this point.
            F.         30th Lecture

                        1.         Begins with discussion that Christian must be ready, if Christ desires, to                                         surrender all for His sake.

                        2.         Every Christian "must be a spiritual priest." (WPD 317)

                        3.         Ministers must believe what they preach.

 

Copyright   2009 Crossties Lutheran Ministry Resources, Inc
All Rights Reserved