LESSON NINETEEN 2009-2010
LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE
I. "The Word as a Means of Grace" (Chapter 7; S. 113)
A. "The Priority of the Word"
1. Luther's definition of sacraments:
a. Derived from Augustine.
b. Required they be tangible.
c. Word comes to the element (water, wine, bread: required).
d. It then becomes a sacrament.
2. Melanchthon's definition : saw Word operative in a rite.
3. They agreed:
a. Sacraments: commended by God.
b. They give grace.
c. They happen within context of the church.
a. Creates the church.
b. So, is prior to church: can be proclaimed outside church.
c. Calls to faith.
d. Creates and confirms faith.
e. Condemns the sinner (Law).
f. Promises salvation in Christ (Gospel).
g. To unbelievers, tormentors, prisons and kings: apostolic task.
h. Mt 10:18.
i. Lk 21:12.
j. Intended for all.
a. Require and assume:
(1) Prior proclamation, and
(2) Response of faith in a confession.
b. Functions of sacraments and Word not interchangeable.
c. When sacraments administered apart from congregation:
(1) eg. emergency baptism or Lord's Supper to homebound.
(2) remain church rites.
(3) extended in context of regular assembly of believers.
d. "Sacraments have no independent autonomous lives of their own." (S. 113)
e. Are entrusted to the church.
f. Were instituted for the church.
g. Are by which the church is nourished.
B. "Scriptures as a Means of Grace" (S. 114)
1. Forms of the Word, the proclamation of salvation.
(1) In ancient world, Scriptures read aloud in churches.
(2) Ro 10:14: probably reference to aloud in congregations.
(3) 1Ti 4:13.
(4) Should be done with reverence and clarity.
d. All are "effective vehicles of the Holy Spirit to create faith." (S. 114)
e. All "means of grace".
2. The Spirit inspiring the Scriptures is the Spirit of Christ.
a. Old Testament and New Testament.
b. 1Pe 1:(10), 11.
c. Jn 16:14.
C. "Ministry of the Means of Grace" (S. 115)
1. Definition of "means of grace" affects definition of "the office of the ministry".
2. Some do away with offices believing each believer has direct access to Spirit.
3. AC, V. (Tappert, p. 31; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 40,41).
4. Roman Catholics agree that ministers are entrusted with them.
a. have preaching and sacramental rites for which ministers necessary by divine command.
b. But, Spirit works alongside not through them.
c. Ministers entrusted with assuring members lived moral lives, i.e. discipline.
d, Ministry, like sacraments, not necessary for salvation.
II. "Sacraments as Means of Grace" (S. 117)
A. "The Definitions and Number of the Sacraments" (S. 117)
1. "Sacraments" from Latin "sacramentum".
2. "Sacramentum" translates Greek "mustērion", from which English "mystery" derived.
3. In New Testament, "mysteries" are "those things known to human beings not in ordinary ways but only through revelation, that is, the gospel, the things about Christ and salvation" (S. 116)
4. Paul includes:
a. Ro 11:25: the unbelief of Israel.
b. Ro 16:25: his preaching about Christ.
c. In Ephesians, "virtually synonymous with Christ's life, death, and resurrection" (id).
(1) Eph 3:(1-)3, 4.
(2) Eph 3:(8), 9.
(3) Eph 6:(19).
(4) The heart of his gospel: 1Co 15:3-5(51)
(1) Eph 5:31,32: may apply since "mystery" applied to His union with Church.
(2) Ap XIII, 4 (Tappert, p. 211; Kolb & Wengert, p. 219).
(3) By confessional definition, may be a sacrament in the more general sense.
(4) Since, marriage instituted by God and had His promises.
e. Jesus, applies to His parables.
(1) Mt 13:11.
(2) Mk 4: 10, (11,12).
(3) Lk 8:(9),10.
(4) Mt and Lk use "mysteries" (pl).
(5) Mk uses sg.: "shows the influence of Paul" (S. 116).
(6) Mk's sg. refers "to the unitary nature of the gospel" (id).
(7) "One mystery is at the heart of all parables." (id).
(8) Therefore, "mysteries" is synonym for the gospel.
a. Follow Martin Luther's use of Augustine's definition.
b. "'The Word is added to the element and it becomes a sacrament.'" (quoted, S. 116)
c. Martin Luther did not follow Augustine, that without faith sacrament was an empty sign, though valid.
d. Nor re: God found in heaven, not in sacrament.
e. Calvin followed Augustine on these.
f. Martin Luther spoke of baptism and Lord's Supper: LC IV, 1; V, 1 (Tappert, pp. 436,447; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 456, 467).
g. Also of other rites: LC IV, 74 (Tappert, p. 445; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 465, 466)
h. John Gerhard:
(1) used word for other rites.
(2) Sacrament was "' a solemn sacred action instituted by God in which the special promise of the gospel is applied and sealed through an external, visible sign'" (quoted, S. 117).
(3) Only two Old Testament sacraments were circumcision and the Passover lamb.
(4) Noted "sacrament" was originally a legal term for bond posted by opposing litigants, later only promise without a bond, and later soldier's oath to serve full terms.
(5) In church language, was applied to external signs pointing to hidden mysteries concealed within, e.g. cross.
(6) Grants wider meaning, but insists no other rites to be placed at same special level of baptism and Lord's Supper.
i. Confession and Absolution
(1) Luther placed between Baptism and Lord's Supper in S.C. (SC IV-VI: Tappert, pp. 348-352; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 359-363)
(2) Sees as the practice of baptism.
(3) Martin Luther calls it the third sacrament: LC IV, 74 (again) (Tappert, p. 445; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 465,466).
j. Important to Martin Luther's definition
(1) Institution and command by Christ.
(2) Attachment to a physical substance.
(3) LC IV, (15), 16 (Tappert, p. 438; Kolb & Wengert, p. 458).
(4) LC V, 14 (Tappert, p. 438; Kolb & Wengert, p. 458).
(5) "Note the order. First by His Word Christ gives created elements a supernatural purpose and then He presents the elements in the rites to make them sacraments through which He creates and strengthens faith." (S. 118)
(6) He is present in them.
(7) Even without faith, water baptism is the baptism of the Spirit.
(8) "Where faith is not present in receiving the Lord's Supper, the recipient still comes face to face with Christ, not as Savior but as judge." (id)
(9) Absolution lacked the sign, but was instituted by Christ.
k. The Number
(1) Lutherans leave open re: sacraments.
(2) Theologies re: baptism, The Supper and Absolution was the important matter.
(3) Re: means of grace, no even approximate number.
(4) Number of means not a separate article in Confessions.
(5) AC V (again) (Tappert, p. 31; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 40.41): indefinite as what the other means could be.
(6) AC XIII (Tappert, pp. 35,36; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 46,47): also no specific number.
(7) Rome insistence that all their seven be treated in same way in its response led to specificity of Apology re: baptism, Lord's Supper and absolution.
(8) Martin Luther focused on the reality/substance of the sacrament.
(9) Melanchthon focused on how they function for and through faith: Ap XIII, 1, 14-19 (Tappert, pp. 211-214; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 219-222).
(10) Their definitions are complementary to each other's.