LESSON SEVENTEEN 2009-2010
LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE
I. Part Two of Course
A. First Part: Walther's The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.
B. Now Part Two from Dr. Scaer's Law and Gospel and the Means of Grace.
1. See publisher information in Lesson One, I, B.
2. Page reference indicated by "S".
II. Scaer's discussion of Law and Gospel.
A. Chapter 1: "Defining the Terms" (S, 3-19).
B. Chapter 2: "Human Existence under the Law and the Gospel" (S, 20-42).
C. Chapter 3: "Law and Gospel as Revelation of God and Principle of Proclamation: (S, 43-61).
D. Chapter 4: "The Third Use of the Law" (S, 62-84).
1. "The third use of the law is the description of the reality of Christ's life taking form and shape in the life of the Christian. In grammatical terms, the imperative of command becomes the indicative, describing what already exists." (S, 83).
2. "Rather than seeing himself making progress toward a greater holiness, which he may be, he becomes increasingly aware of his standing before God, coram deo, as a sinner. As faith increases so does the awareness of sin and he loses all sense of an internal, personal righteousness." (S, 83f, fn omitted).
E. Chapter 5: "Law and Gospel in the Twentieth Century" (S, 85-101).
F. Part Two: The Means of Grace, includes chapters 6-16 (S, 105-213).
G. Entire book highly recommended!
III. "The Means of Grace: The Meaning of a Phrase" (S, 105).
A. Phrase "means of grace".
1. Properly defined, does not have to do with condemnation of law.
2. Rather, how in many ways, He comes to us in the gospel.
3. As "God's continued activity in approaching sinners since the fall into sin" (S, 105)
a. Singular "means of grace is" is proper.
b. Plural "are" also proper since phrase encompasses the instruments He uses.
B. Content of means of grace is the gospel.
1. Apart from them, gospel cannot be known.
2. Word which gave sacrament its saving character.
a. Not only the divine command which instituted.
b. But gospel, the message of salvation in Christ.
3. "Command" did not change sacraments into law.
C. "Christ completely fills the sacraments with His presence and is their content." (S, 105)
D. Administration of sacraments presupposes proclamation of Law and Gospel.
1. Preaching: both law and gospel.
2. "Sacraments are pure gospel" (S, 105)
3. "Offenses against the law have been atoned for by Christ, but there is no redemption for rejecting the gospel and receiving the sacraments without faith." (S, 106, fn. omitted).
E. Phrase "means of grace" not found in Bible.
1. But topics embraced are.
2. Phrase used differently by Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and the Reformed.
3. Reformed: deny that means actually convey God's grace or give the Spirit.
4. Roman Catholics:
a. Grace not given in proclamation.
b. Given substantively in sacraments administered by priests.
c. Priests have undergone a change by grace bestowed in ordination.
d. Each sacrament bestows a particular grace.
e. Each grace is factor in salvation.
f. Effect is cumulative, e.g. baptism is incomplete.
5. Lutheran understanding.
a. Grace "is God's gracious attitude to sinners on account of Christ." (S, 106)
b. AC V follows AC IV on justification.
(1) AC V (Tappert, p. 31; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 40,41; Triglotta, p 45)
(2) AC IV (Tappert, p. 30; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 38-40; Triglotta, p. 45)
c. "Grace describes God's response to sin by redeeming the sinful world on account of Christ." (S, 106)
d. "It [grace] is how God deals with us in Christ through Word and sacraments and is not a substance which brings about a physical change in the one who receives it, which is the characteristic Roman Catholic understanding." (S, 106, 107)
e. "In Lutheran Theology the means of grace do not give a divine 'something', but in them Jesus Himself is present." (S, 107)
f. Paul's use of noun "grace" is adverbial sense (how God acts).
(1) Ro. 3:24 [22-24].
(2) Ro 11:5,6.
(3) Eph 2:5, 8 [4-9].
g. Paul's use in substantive way, referring to what God has given him as an apostle.
(1) Ro. 1:5.
(2) Ro. 12:3.
(3) Ro. 15:15 [15,16].
(4) Eph 3:7.
(5) Even here is not something implanted in Paul.
(6) Is God working in him to carry out his apostolic mission.
h. "Grace is God in action for sinners in Christ". (S, 107)
i. "The means of grace can be understood as everything which belongs to the proclamation of the gospel to create faith (Ap. XIII. 1) and is attached to the ministry (AC V. 1-3)
(1) Ap XIII, 1 (Tappert, p. 211; Kolb & Wengert, p. 219; Triglotta, p. 309).
(2) AC V, 1-3 (again) (Tappert, p. 31; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 40, 41; Triglotta, p. 45)
(3) "For the sake of the means of grace, that is, the proclamation of forgiveness for Christ's sake, the ministry was established." (S, 107).
(4) "Faith is the proper response to the means of grace in the sense that we take God at His Word and believe that He is working in them. Without faith salvation is not received." (S, 107, fn. omitted)
(5) Ap XIII, 19 (Tappert, p. 213; Kolb & Wengert, p. 221; Triglotta, p. 313)