LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE
I. Thesis XXII
In the eighteenth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when a
false distinction is
made between a person's being awakened and his being converted;
moreover, when a person's INABILITY to believe is mistaken for his not
to believe. (WPD 362)
A. The so-called Pietists:
1. Were guilty of this is in first half of 18th century.
2. Included August Herman Francke and others.
3. Were really keeping people away from Christ.
4. Made distinction between:
a. Spiritual awakening, and
5. Divided all men into three classes:
a. Still unconverted.
b. Awakened, but not yet converted.
6. Well-intentioned but wrong.
7. Would have been right if "awakened classification" meant those who:
a. Occasionally receive a powerful impression of the Word, but
b. Promptly stifle it, so that it is rendered ineffectual.
c. They cannot continue to live in carnal security.
d. But suppress their unrest until God smites them again with the Law.
(1) Herod Antipas: heard John gladly, asked for his advice occasionally and followed it, yet beheaded John to please dancing girl.
(2) Felix, the governor: "Convicted" by Paul's sermon, yet dismissed him to never call for him again. (Ac 24:25)
(3) Festus: Heard Paul but declared him a fanatic. (Ac 26:24)
(4) Herod Agrippa (Ac 26:28)
(5) Really wrong to call these people awakened.
8. In Scripture, "awakened" means conversion.
B. Scripture equates awakening and conversion.
1. Eph. 5:(13),14.
2. Eph. 2:4-6.
3. Col. 2:(11), 12: awakened through faith.
1. Said unless has "experienced a genuine, thorough contrition in his heart", not converted, merely "awakened". (WPD 365)
2. They demand contrition like David's, with whole nights crying, etc.
3. Erroneous assumption.
D. Not everyone passes through similar experience.
1. Eph. 1:13: "sealing presupposes faith" (WPD 365)
2. Pentecost: Ac. 2:37,38,42.
3. Ac. 8:32-38.
4. Ac. 16:29-33.
5. To demand such is to:
a. Not lead them to Jesus.
b. To lead them to rely on own works.
1. Not at all difficult to be converted.
2. Is difficult to remain in converted state.
3. Mt. 7:13.
a. Not a reference to repentance.
b. Repentance is produced by God.
c. Conflict occurs after conversion.
d. That conflict is severe.
e. "The narrow way is the cross which Christians have to bear" (WPD 367)
f. Many fall away and lose faith.
g. Mt. 13:20,(21).
h. Pietists ("fanatics") place conflict before conversion.
F. FC, SD
1. II, 87 (Tappert, p. 538; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 560f; Triglotta, pp. 913f)
2. II, 14 (Tappert, p. 523; Kolb & Wengert, p. 546; Triglotta, p. 885)
G. Php 2:12,13
1. Must "work out your salvation" with fear.
2. Because God must do everything necessary.
3. Converted person is only one able to do this.
4. If fails, relapses into spiritual death.
5. Man must be convinced of necessity of unconditional surrender to God.
6. Must never urge people to rely on their own efforts.
7. Ends 35th Lecture.
H. 36th Lecture (WPD 370)
1. Begins with discussion of man's rejection of saved by grace alone.
2. "For in every man there is hidden by nature a blind, self-righteous Pharisee." (WPD 371)
3. "This has been the way at all times." (WPD 372)
4. Has occurred in Old Testament times, "Popery" (WPD 372), and even in Evangelical Lutheran Church. (e.g. Pietists).
5. Jn 5:44.
a. Addressed to Jews, but "chiefly against the Pharisees. (WPD 373)
b. "By the above statement the Lord has declared that a person who simply will not quit a certain sin, can not believe in Him." (WPD 373).
c. Must not infer from fact that Law must "first crush the sinner's heart before the sweet comfort of the Gospel is applied to him." " that the sinner may not believe." (WPD 373)
d. Sinner may believe at any time.
e. To say "may not believe" is contrary to "perfect redemption of Christ from all sins." (WPD 373)
f. 1Jn. 2:1,2
g. 2Co. 5:14.
h. Mt. 18:18.
i. Applies to Absolution and Sacraments.
6. Must not appeal to one's good intention (WPD 377)
a. Pietists and fanatics worry about "false comfort" being offered. (WPD 377)
b. God is "wiser than they". (WPD 373)
c. Law convicts.
d. Then Gospel applied.
7. Walther studies some of Luther's writings.
8. End of 36th Lecture
I. 37th lecture begins (WPD 379)
1. The most necessary qualities of minister are:
a. That "he is animated by a sincere and ardent zeal to discharge his office properly and"
b. "accomplish something of real value in the sight of God" to save every soul entrusted to him from hell and bring it to heaven. (WPD 379)
2. "False, carnal zeal"
a. Ro. 10:2.
b. If false teachers seem more zealous, due to not being hindered by their reason and flesh.
II. Thesis XXIII
In the nineteenth place, the Word
of God is not rightly divided when an attempt is
made, by means of the demands or the threats or the promises of the Law,
to induce the
unregenerate to put away their sins and engage in good works and thus become
godly; on the other hand, when an endeavor is made, by means of the
commands of the Law rather than by
the admonitions of the Gospel, to urge the regenerate to do
good. (WPD 381)
A. Dealing with gross confounding of Law and Gospel.
1. Jer. 31:31-34.
a. While Law was written into men's hearts, it did not serve purpose of making men godly.
b. Men had been created godly before Fall.
c. Only reason for it was that they might know what is pleasing to God.
d. Before Fall, men "simply willed whatever was God-pleasing". (WPD 382)
e. Condition changed by Fall.
f. After exodus, God "repeated the Law and reestablished a legal covenant with the Jews." (WPD 382)
g. But the legal covenant had not improved their condition because force was required.
h. But prophets continually preached the Gospel pointing to the Messiah.
i. Law could not effect change in condition.
j. Gospel effects new mind and new and pure heart.
k. Gospel saved Old Testament believers.
2. Ro. 3:20.
a. Law reveals sin.
b. Law increases sin.
c. Causes men to "regard God as cruel in demanding what man cannot accomplish." (WPD 383)
3. Ro. 7:7-13
a. By our nature, we do not know original sin.
b. Without that knowledge, we may not break out in gross crimes.
c. But when Law proclaimed in its spiritual meaning, we become malicious. (WPD 383)
d. Does not benefit men if know Ten Commandments but do not understand their spiritual meaning. (WPD 384)
4. 2 Co. 3:6
5. Ps 119:32.
a. When comforted by the Gospel, heart made large.
b. Then cheerfully and willingly walk the straight, narrow way to heaven. (WPD 384)
6. Gal. 3:2.
a. If find congregation's condition deplorable, preach Law.
b. But follow up immediately with the Gospel.
c. Confounding practiced by rationalists and Papists.
d. Also in orthodox Church, e.g.
(1) By those who found assurance of state of grace only after great struggle and anguish and intersperse preaching with such remarks that lead hearers to think they cannot meet the requirements.
(2) By preachers when they realize there are gross sins still occurring in congregation even though Gospel preached.
(A) Decide to "hush the Gospel for a while."
(B) And preach nothing but the Law for conditions to improve. (WPD 387)
(C) "The reason why congregations are corrupt is invariably this, that its ministers have not sufficiently preached the Gospel to the people." (WPD 388)
C. Good works pleasing to God.
1. Not forced by threats or promises of the Law.
2. Hearts changed by the Gospel only.
3. Law can only produce outward acts.
D. Finishes 37th Lecture with writings by Luther.
E. 38th Lecture begun (WPD 391)
1. Everyone must be brought out of "false security, false comfort, false peace, and false hopes". (WPD 391)
2. Must be "made to despair of salvation." (WPD 391)
3. Is but a "preparatory stage".
4. Chief aim is that he attain full assurance of his state of grace.
5. Preaching the Gospel is telling man that they are reconciled to God.
6. That is preacher's principal aim.
1. Lk. 10:20.
2. 1Co. 6:11.
3. 1Pe. 2:25.
4. 1Jn. 3:2.
G. Some preachers satisfied if their people come to them occasionally and complain of doubts of salvation as if it indicates that they have properly trained them.
1. But should alarm them.
2. Preachers who are not truly evangelical think it indicates they have made good Christians out of their hearers. (WPD 392)
3. Reason for uncertainty about being "true Christians" is a confounding of Law and Gospel.
4. A failure to follow 2Ti. 2:15.