LESSON SIXTEEN 2009-2010
LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE
I. Thesis XXIV
In the twentieth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the
unforgiveable sin against the Holy Ghost is described in a manner as if
it could not
be forgiven because of its magnitude. (WPD 393)
A. The sin against the Holy Spirit.
1. Walther confronting a description current at the time.
2. Only Law condemns sin.
3. Gospel absolves from all sins without exception.
4. Is 1:18.
5. Ro 5:20.
B. "[T]he real seat of doctrine" here. (WPD 393)
1. Mt. 12:30-32.
a. The principal passage.
b. Certain that Holy Spirit is not more glorious than the Father and the Son.
c. Blasphemy against Father and Son "is exactly the same sin". (WPD 393)
d. The blasphemy here against the Spirit is "against the office, or operation, of the Holy Spirit". (WPD 393)
e. To reject His office cannot be forgiven.
f. Spirit's office "is to call men to Christ and to keep them with Him." (WPD 393)
g. Note passage says "speaks against the Holy Spirit." (v. 32)
h. This sin not committed by "blasphemous thoughts that arise in the heart". (WPD 394)
i. We cannot rid ourselves of "horrid thoughts". (WPD 394)
j. Requires that they are "uttered by the mouth". (WPD 394)
k. Walther tells of girl who uttered such but would fall to ground crying out for deliverance by God.
(1) "Satan had taken possession of her lips". (WPD 394)
(2) "Modernists...call this explanation a superstitious notion". (WPD 394)
2. Mk 3:28-30
a. Here, we have record of an actual blasphemy against the Spirit.
b. Mk 3:1-6, 22.
c. "To declare a work of the Holy Ghost a work of the devil when one is convinced that it is a work of the Holy Ghost, that is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost." (WPD 395)
d. We Christians do "occasionally resist the operation of divine grace" and try to chase away those "gloomy thoughts" (WPD 395)
e. We are warned against this.
f. "[I]f we wish to be saved, we must yield promptly to the operation of the Holy Spirit as soon as we feel it and not resist it." (WPD 395)
g. God brings no one into His Kingdom by force.
3. Lk 12:10.
b. "knowing and purposely". (WPD 395)
C. Other passages
1. Heb 6:4-8.
a. Characteristic of this sin that one "who has committed it cannot be restored to repentance." (WPD 396)
b. When a man's impenitence reaches a certain degree, God ceases His gracious operations on him.
c. That man cannot be led to repentance.
2. 1 Jn 5:16.
a. Important message.
b. But, we cannot act on it.
c. We do not know who is irretrievably impenitent.
d. Either pray that God be gracious to that person, or cease praying.
e. One who is contrite over previous sin against Holy Spirit is on path to repentance.
f. Only has to lay hold of promise of forgiveness of the Gospel.
g. His "suffering" is proof he has not committed this sin.
h. Preachers better off telling hearers they have not committed this sin rather than warning them against committing it.
3. Ac 7:51
a. People had not committed sin against Spirit.
c. Their sin was willful but not blasphemy against spirit.
d. Stephen prayed that they might quit resisting Spirit.
D. Walther discusses Luther's writings.
1. Understood "sin unto death" (1 Jn 5:16) as reference to "heresy which these people set up in place of the truth." (quoted, WPD 397)
2. Some sins are stubborn and defiant (e.g. Judas and King Saul).
3. This sin is "the highest degree of obstinacy". (WPD 397)
4. The people "insist on maintaining and defending their known error". (WPD 397)
5. "[F]inal impenitence is a feature of this sin". (WPD 398)
6. They are "not frightened by any scruples of conscience". (WPD 398)
7. Walther finishes 38th Lecture with discussions from Baier's Latin Compend of Positive Theology.
E. Begins 39th Lecture (WPD 401)
1. Teachers of theology receive intense contempt and hatred.
2. Are accused of delaying "the Golden Age". (WPD 401)
3. But God has exalted the Office above all others.
4. Lk 10:16.
II. Thesis XXV
In the twenty-first place, the
Word of God is not rightly divided when the person
teaching it does not allow the Gospel to have a general predominance in
A. Proper distinction
1. Not made when Law predominates in preaching.
2. Also, not made when Law and Gospel as a rule, are equally balanced.
3. Requires Gospel to predominate in preaching.
1. Lk 2:10
a. Angel was first preacher after Christ's birth.
b. No law at all.
c. Lk 2:(13), 14.
d. Ultimate aim must be preaching the Gospel.
2. Mk 16:15, 16
b. Damnation: unbelief.
3. 2 Ti 4:5
a. Gk: ergon poiēson euaggelistou (do - [the] work of an evangelist).
b. i.e. preach the Gospel (euaggelion).
c. If encounter self-righteousness or carnal security, preach Law in a preparation for Gospel.
4. Jn 1:17.
5. 2 Co 3:5,6.
6. 1 Co 2:2.
7. 1 Co 15:3, (4).
a. Gk: en prōtois.
b. "among the first things" (lit).
c. i.e. "first of all".
d. Everything else is subordinate.
1. Not sufficient just to be able to present pure doctrine correctly.
2. Gospel must predominate.
3. 2 Co 1:24.
4. "helpers of joy to Christians". (WPD 407)
1. AC, IV (Tappert, p. 30; Kolb & Wengert, p.p. 38-41; Triglotta, p. 45)
2. SA, II I, 5 (Tappert, p. 292; Kolb & Wengert, p. 301; Triglotta, p.p. 461, 463)
E. Walther discusses Luther's writings.
1. Quotation "which you ought to commit to memory and of which you should make diligent use." (WPD 408)
2. "'In my heart there reigns, and shall ever reign, this one article, namely, faith in my dear Lord Christ, which is the sole beginning, middle, and end of all spiritual and godly thought which I may have at any time, day or night." (quoted, WPD 408)