LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE
I. Theses II (WPD 30)
he is an orthodox teacher who not only presents all the articles of faith in
accordance with Scripture, but also rightly distinguishes from each other the
Law and the Gospel.
A. Thesis has two parts:
1. He must present all the articles of faith in accordance with Scripture.
2. He must rightly distinguish Law and Gospel.
B. Presenting all the articles of faith per Scripture.
1. Such claim often considered “arrogance”.
2. Scripture requires:
a. We have Word absolutely pure.
b. “We” be able to say have rightly preached His Word.
c. Relates Luther’s paradox re: preacher only praying Lord’s Prayer before, not after, giving sermon (WPD 31)
3. Jer. 23:28.
4. Gal. 5:9.
5. Dt. 4:2.
C. Must rightly distinguish L & G (WPD 32)
1. Final test of proper sermon.
2. Test is not just that every statement from Scriptures.
3. Consider order of student’s sermons.
a. “It is all by grace.”
b. “We must do good works.”
c. “With our works we cannot gain salvation.” (WPD 32)
d. No one can understand this.
e. Sermon wrong without containing false doctrine.
II. Rightly dividing L & G.
A. 2 Ti. 2:15.
1. Gk: “orthotomounta ton logon tēs alētheias” (rightly dividing the word of truth).
1. Rendered “rightly divided”.
2. Walther says derived either from:
a. Action of priests when dividing sacrificial offerings, or
b. When family head apportions food and drink to household.
3. Walther prefers 2d but notes many theologians adopt 1st.
4. [Note: from orthos (right) and temnō (to cut or divide) per Spiros Zodhiates, TH.D., The Compete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament (World Bible Publishers, Inc., Iowa Falls, Iowa, 1992). Often translated as “rightly handle”, or “rightly explaining” – to avoid the doctrine of distinguishing L & G?]
5. Here, used metaphorically.
C. Lk 12:42: good householder-
1. Furnishes everything needed at proper time.
2. Give each individual exactly portion needed.
3. Must not throw all doctrines into a jumble.
D. Eze. 13:18-22.
1. Preacher knows people need Law.
2. But “for a piece of bread” keeps silent (WPD 34).
3. Worse yet is one who withholds Gospel from those in need of consolation.
1. “Favor” is “Beauty” in WPD = Gospel.
3. Speaker is the Messiah.
4. Mixing L & G makes a 3d substance causing both L & G to lose their virtues.
F. L & G
1. Both God’s Word.
2. But different kinds of doctrine.
3. Knowledge of this easily learned.
4. But, “must be reinforced by experience.”
5. Only then, will understand distinction is glorious.
6. L & G: works and faith.
7. “This distinction between the Law and the Gospel is the supreme art among Christians” (WPD 35)
8. If distinction not maintained, “Christian” same as Gentile or Jew (WPD 36).
A. Walther begins 5th lecture re: glory that God uses men for task of saving world.
B. Addresses seminarians re: this
C. Then Walther begins reference to writings of Johann Gerhard (WPD 37)
1. Distinction must be observed above all at:
a. In article of justification.
b. In using the keys of the Church.
2. When speaking publicly, situation different.
a. “take into consideration chiefly the elect children of God.” (WPD 39)
b. “Still I must preach the Law even there.” (WPD 39)
c. “A sermon…[without] any Law is worthless.” (WPD 39)
3. 3d: commingling L & G necessarily produces confusion of consciences i.e. unrest of conscience.
D. Walther begins 6th lecture with quote re: students of theology:
“‘When they arrive at the university, they know everything. In their second year of study they become aware of some things that they do not know. At the close of their last year of study they are convinced they know nothing at all’” (WPD 41)
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