LESSON EIGHTEEN 2009-2010
LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE
I. Law and Gospel and the Means of Grace. (S. 107)
A. Began course with Walther's Proper Distinction.
1. Dr. Scaer began his book discussing same topic.
2. Law accuses.
3. Law is not a revelation of a gracious God for sinful man.
4. Law is preparation for Gospel.
a. "provides a structure for God's proper work in the gospel." (S. 108)
b. "presents the problems which the gospel answers." (S. 108)
B. Word and Sacraments
1. Word: Law belongs alongside Gospel.
2. Sacraments: "pure gospel" (S. 108)
3. Catholics and Reformed see Sacraments as law.
a. Catholics: baptism, confirmation and extreme unction required for salvation.
b. Reformed: see baptism and Lord's Supper as ordinances in sense of Ten Commandments.
c. i.e. divine ordinances required in order to please God.
4. "Lutherans do not question that the gospel is present and effective in Reformed and Roman Catholic sacramental rites..." (S. 108)
a. Can speak of Sacraments as commands of God.
b. But in sense of gracious invitations.
c. Despising sacraments is despising God's gracious invitation in the gospel.
d. Mt 11:28: sweet invitation.
e. Mt 25:34.
f. use of imperatives: not law.
g. "ordinances" but without threatening penalties.
II. "Grace" (S. 109)
A. Disagreements between Lutherans and R. Catholic/Reformed
1. What the "means" are.
2. What "grace" is.
3. Even if all use both terms.
B. Roman Catholics
1. "Grace" is a substance poured into recipient by the sacraments.
2. "gratia infusa": infused grace.
3. Found and distributed in sacraments.
4. In a way not taking place in preached Word.
5. Recipients expected to use it to work out their own salvation.
6. Individual cooperates with sacramental grace.
C. Reformed: grace is only for the elect.
1. Grace by which we are saved can not be quantified as a substance.
2. Is "His gracious attitude in Christ now revealed through the preached Word and the Sacraments to create faith, so that sinners may be forgiven and justified by faith." (S. 109)
3. Forgiveness and justification: virtual synonyms.
E. Roman Catholics treasure sacraments.
1. As bestowed grace as a substance.
2. Whether or not faith is present.
F. Reformed: grace and Spirit given apart from or alongside but never in the sacraments themselves." (S. 109,110).
G. Classical Reformed:
1. Grace only for elect.
2. Therefore, Word and Sacraments are proclamation of forgiveness only to them.
H. Scaer: "In the strictest sense grace is not an original attribute in God in the sense that love, righteousness, and eternity are. These attributes define God as He always was and will remain in Himself. Grace is God's response of love to the fallen world on account of Christ. It is God acting in love on account of Christ's death for sinners." (S. 110)
I. Ro 3:21-25.
J. Means of grace
1. God is present in them.
2. Where justification becomes effective for individual.
3. Objective justification becomes individual's (subjective justification).
4. Ro 4:25.
III. "The Means of Grace and Faith" (S. 110)
A. Classical Reformed:
1. God elects those who will believe and be saved and who will not.
2. In this sense, God is cause for unbelief and damnation.
B. Jacob Arminius, Dutch theologian.
1. Opposed above.
2. Said that faith was individual choice.
3. Said not a matter of divine election.
4. Later popularized by John Wesley.
C. Division remains but they share view on means of grace.
1. God alone responsible for faith.
2. Unbelief is individual decision.
3. Mystery re: some believe and others do not remains.
E. Mt 13: 1-9; 18-23
1. He describes circumstances of unbelief.
2. He does not explain why:
a. Some never believe.
b. Some believe and fall away.
c. Others remain in faith.
d. Reasons belong to God's mysteries.
e. Mt 13:11.
f. Proclamation of Word:
(2) But not effective in every case. (S. 111)
g. No "once saved, always saved".
1. In response to proclamation of Word, brings judgment.
2. Disguised as belief in receiving sacraments is more serious.
a. Is cloaking contempt for things of God.
b. In a confession of faith inwardly rejected.
c. Faces greater judgment.
3. Is why catechumens (those awaiting baptism) instructed and of good character first.
a. Baptized when brought to church.
b. Jesus says they have faith.
c. See course outline re: Baptism.
G. Closed Communion
1. Historic Lutheran practice.
2. Custom is variant of early church rule.
a. Anyone could be present for Mass of the Catechumens (Word preached)
b. Only baptized members in good standing stayed for the Mass of the Faithful (Lord's Supper)
3. Baptism precedes Lord's Supper.
4. Preached Word for everyone.
5. Preaching: creates faith.
6. Baptism: regenerates and includes baptized in Christ's body.
7. Lord's Supper: nourishes faith of baptized.