Lutheran Worship and Resources



Traditional Lutheran worship services, using The Lutheran Hymnal and the KJV.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM CDT.


Midweek Lenten - 7 PM Central Daylight.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works asgregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jubilate - The Third Sunday after Easter


Jesus commended a child-like faith:
art by Norma Boeckler.



Jubilate, The Third Sunday after Easter


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 536 Awake My Soul 3.28
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 36 Now Thank We 3.40
Because They Do Not Believe
The Communion Hymn # 354 In the Cross 3.84
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 195 (Luther) Christ Jesus 1:46

THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness dost suffer Thy children to come under Thy chastening rod here on earth, that we may be like unto Thine only-begotten Son in suffering and hereafter in glory: We beseech Thee, comfort us in temptations and afflictions by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not fall into despair, but that we may continually trust in Thy Son's promise, that our trials will endure but a little while, and will then be followed by eternal joy; that we thus, in patient hope, may overcome all evil, and at last obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

KJV John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

To Convict the World of Sin, Because They Do Not Believe

KJV John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

The text for today is taken from the historic lesson for next week, because I glanced at another website and forgot they were using the Vatican order (3-year lectionary), which mixes things around. John 16 is a chapter worthy of considerable study, because it is Jesus’ farewell sermon and contains so much for us to know.

The work of the Holy Spirit (that is, the Word) is three-fold:
1. To convict the world of sin.
2. Of righteousness.
3. And judgment.

Whenever we speak of the work of the Holy Spirit, it is the work of the Word of God. And the reverse is also true. The Word of God is always the work of the Holy Spirit, no matter how we might be tempted to judge it.

Some say, “Do not speak so sharply about doctrine, because it makes people upset and unhappy.” But that is the work of the Holy Spirit – convicting them of sin, because they do not believe.

Verse 8 is the most upsetting of all verses in the New Testament, for two reasons.

One is the definition of sin for most people. Our first thought is the Prodigal Son, who wasted all his money on slow horses and fast women. We think of carnal sin and all the vices of the world. Most people think of sin this way because it is the primary definition in the minds of all people. That is also why they think the opposite of sin, or the cure for sin, is virtue and good works.

The second reason this upsets is that constant war against faith being waged by the stormtroopers of the Synodical Conference. Borrowing from Calvinism via Pietism, they imagine that everyone is already forgiven, without the Holy Spirit working through the Word, that salvation is believing we are already forgiven, while repudiating faith in an odd sort of way.

No matter how much we know as believers, we still go back to the world’s definition of sin. That is also why we spend so much time justifying ourselves instead of relying on the justification promised by and given by the Word of God.

To understand this properly we need to return to Luther’s concept of the Bible, which was the result of his spiritual agony, his extensive training, and his duties in lecturing on the Bible.
Luther, as a monk, thought battling sin meant confessing his sins for hours, ruining his health, torturing himself with physical pain of various types. The more he did this, the more he less he felt in control of sin. He knew the mental battle was the greatest of all. As he said in one sermon, someone can be tied up and incapable of doing anything, yet sin inwardly. Physical restraint is no cure. Nor is total fear of the consequences. If someone refrains from sin from fear, that is not conquering sin at all. Take away the fear and the impulse remains.

Because we all have a general knowledge of sin and a default attitude of paying for sin by ourselves, the Biblical solution must be different. God’s ways are not man’s ways, and God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts.

The basis for all sin is lack of faith in Christ. The Gospel alone conquers sin, so the lack of Gospel from a lack of faith is the cause of sin.

I contend that the teaching of UOJ in WELS, the ELS, Missouri, and the CLC (sic) has had catastrophic consequences for the clergy. Most laity do not grasp the false doctrine of UOJ because it is so self-contradictory. However, the clergy get UOJ left and right and know they cannot openly oppose it. For the spiritually lazy, it is wonderful, because it justifies anything they do, whether it means addiction to alcohol, drugs, adultery, or false doctrine. Under UOJ, unionism is meaningless and there is no room for the category of false doctrine (except “denying UOJ” which is condemned with fury).

The larger problem of a lack of faith in Christ comes from impatience with His results, which are never enough for us, and the experience of the cross.

Impatience with results will always lead us to doubt God’s Word and His goodness. Clergy get that experience because everything leading up to the first call is usually positive. Isn’t it wonderful is a common phrase. The vicar is almost always in a large congregation and never faces the real action. He is ordained and gets some gifts, his first real dwelling, to be shared with his shepherdess, and then it all starts. It is the bad side of teaching and preaching the Word. One member will be furious because a single announcement was overlooked.

As someone said, the actions of one person can color one’s perception of the whole group. Reaction against sound doctrine is much stronger than support of sound doctrine. That leads the clergy into ways of creating happy campers, as one Church Growth leader said, and the road to apostasy follows, especially since Satan rewards apostates to keep them in the fold.

No one looks at the last act of the apostate. Robert Schuller was the man to emulate for decades. Now various businesses are suing his church for unpaid bills. I have seen unpaid bills in a church before, but never so bad that lawsuits were filed to collect. That shows where the Power of Positive Thinking leaders. But others will follow younger, more radical wolf-shepherds and forget about old Schuller, yesterday’s news.

More importantly, people fail to grasp the Gospel when they think their battle against sin is one of works and virtue. The Law has no power to conquer sin. The Law can only convict us of our sin and stir up sin. A perfect Law sermon is this “You know why we are not growing? You are not friendly enough! We need a program of friendliness to make people want to join our church.”

That kind of Law sermon will make people upset at their unfriendly neighbors and induce people to engage in a works-program of friendliness.

All the self-improvement and addiction programs are based on works and virtue.

Fruits of Christianity come from faith in Christ. Faith in Christ comes from remaining with the Means of Grace. A forgiven Christian is motivated by love, God’s love. The Gospel alone has to power to conquer sin because believers receive the righteousness of Christ and enjoy that energy, that leaven in their lives.

I use the term energy because it is a pun on the Greek word expressing God’s Word “at work” or effective in the lives of believers. Paul and Christ warned against the bad leaven of the Pharisees but commended the constantly growing leaven of the Gospel.

As Luther said, and we read in the Confessions, the Gospel continues to work in us to make us more loving, more patient, more generous.

The unforgiven person rages against sin because he never knows how to be forgiven. The UOJ parson is in the same fix, because his solution is anti-Biblical rather than God-pleasing.

Not believing in Christ is a sin. Faith in Christ means receiving all His benefits.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Knapp and Double Justification


George Christian Knapp, Halle Pietist, still in print today.
Are those bees flying around his head?


Lectures on Christian Theology, p. 318.

1833 - in English!

By Georg Christian Knapp (Halle University), trans. Leonard Woods.

Translator's note• [This is very conveniently expressed by the terms objective and subjective justification. Objective justification is the act of God, by which he proffers pardon to all through Christ; subjective is the act of man, by which he accepts the pardon freely offered in the gospel. The former is universal, the latter not.]

Knapp's Halle lectures were first read in 1789, so we have the remnants of the Synodical Conference using a formula from a Pietistic book translated in 1833 but written 40 years before. Knapp was a standard Protestant theology book throughout the 19th century and remains in print today.

Walther started in 1847, although Loehe really began the Missouri Synod. Can we believe that Walther had no knowledge of Knapp in German, when Walther himself was a Pietist?

The great scandal of Midwestern Lutheranism comes from their anti-Luther Pietism embodied in Woods' double-justification scheme.

Anything else is Calvinism to them, and that proves how little they know about Christian doctrine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Misericordias Domini - The Second Sunday after Easter


By Norma Boeckler



Misericordias Domini – The Second Sunday after Easter


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Savings Time


The Hymn #628 Shepherd of Tender Youth 3:74
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 426 The Lord My Shepherd Is 3:81
Justification by Faith
The Communion Hymn # 307 Draw Nigh 3:72
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #50 Lord Dismiss Us 3:86

Second Sunday After Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness hast been mindful of us poor, miserable sinners, and hast given Thy beloved Son to be our shepherd, not only to nourish us by His word, but also to defend us from sin, death, and the devil: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that, even as this Shepherd doth know us and succor us in every affliction, we also may know Him, and, trusting in Him, seek help and comfort in Him, from our hearts obey His voice, and obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

KJV John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Justification by Faith Alone – As Taught by the Word of God

The Christian Church knows only one doctrine concerning justification by faith alone, apart from works. A second version must be identified properly and rejected. For well over a century, the Synodical Conference and its remnants have striven to enforce an opinion based upon
Justification by Faith Defined
The Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone is clearly taught in the Scriptures and confessed with great clarity in the Book of Concord. The Holy Spirit works through the Law to convict us of our sin. Through the Gospel—in Word and Sacrament—the Holy Spirit distributes the forgiveness won by Christ on the cross. This forgiveness is received in faith, and yet this faith is not the work of man, but God. The Promises of God produce this faith that receives the declaration of forgiveness, justification by faith.

Universal Objective Justification Defined
In contrast, Universal Objective Justification claims two justifications. Both are imaginary since they argue against the revelation of Scripture. Their first justification is actually the absolution of the entire world, apart from faith and the Means of Grace. They call this General Justification, Objective Justification, and Universal Objective Justification. All three terms argue for universal absolution: Twiddledee, Twiddledum, and Twiddledeedee. Their second justification is equally false, because they say that by faith believers receive what they have already received – absolution of sin. And yet, if they do not receive what they have already received, they will spend eternity in Hell with the status of guilt-free saints.

LCMS Brief Statement, 1932

17. Holy Scripture sums up all its teachings regarding the love of God to the world of sinners, regarding the salvation wrought by Christ, and regarding faith in Christ as the only way to obtain salvation, in the article of justification. Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ, Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 4:25; that therefore not for the sake of their good works, but without the works of the Law, by grace, for Christ's sake, He justifies, that is, accounts as righteous, all those who believe, accept, and rely on, the fact that for Christ's sake their sins are forgiven. Thus the Holy Ghost testifies through St. Paul: "There is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," Rom. 3:23, 24. And again: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law," Rom. 3:28.

http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=570

John 1:29 Scam
The Gospel of John has the strongest claim to apostolic authorship, so the UOJ claims about one citation is especially significant in the destruction of their fraudulent case. The Fourth Gospel also has the unusual effect of supplementing Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so it serves as the final word on the public ministry of Christ while unifying the witness of all four.

KJV John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

This passage does not say that God absolved the world of sin the moment Christ died, or the moment He rose from the dead. UOJ constantly confuses the Atonement with justification by faith. Not so strangely, given the Halle University turn toward Universalism (Tholluck, Hoenecke’s professor), universal absolution is the basic premise of Universalism. The UOJ advocates do not think they are Universalists, but they are 99% there.

The Atonement itself is universal. Christ has paid for the sins of the world. However, forgiveness won (Atonement, propitiation, ransom, redemption) is not the same as forgiveness declared (justification by faith).

The UOJ interpretation of John 1:29 is demolished by another passage:

KJV John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

For the Gospel of John to be consistent, the wrath of God would have to be removed by the universal absolution – which remains unrecorded in the Scriptures. The whole point of UOJ is that all sins are forgiven, apart from faith, making faith inconsequential, except as an afterthought. UOJ advocates rage against faith, diminish faith, and paint the Book of Concord position as intutitu fidei, showing how little they know.

In contrast, the Gospel of John concludes with the purpose of the Evangelist:

KJV John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Romans 4
No one can miss UOJ fanatics constantly proving their case with Romans 4:25. In fact, they draw on Walther’s Easter absolution sermon and the Brief Statement. One of the lesser known Schallers pointed out that Walther was not an exegete, that he weakened the Missouri Synod with his addiction to propositions. That is exactly what happened with the development of UOJ. When the Brief Statement became canonical law and more significant than the Book of Concord (bad theology drives out good theology), the weakness of listing propositions and citing passages became clear.

The Romans 4:25 passage, in context, refutes UOJ instead of supporting it. Proof is that the Enthusiasts always name it alone and quote it alone, as if nothing is before or after. Let us look at the context.

Romans 4 is a chapter about faith. The whole purpose of the chapter is to reveal Abraham as the father of faith and as a prime example of someone justified by faith.

KJV Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Although chapter numbers themselves are later additions, this is clearly the thesis for the section – justification by faith. This is emphasized by the next two verses:

KJV Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

If Paul thought unfaith or disbelief counted for righteousness, he might have added a verse or two to that effect. But he did not. Some jump on the clause “that justifieth the ungodly” but that is another clever deception by the opponents. How can God declare righteous the godly? That claim is parallel to forgiving the forgiven – an action the UOJ leaders are prepared to repeat until people give up in weariness.

The sick need a doctor. The broken need healing. The sinful need justification, God’s action rather than man’s self-justification. That can only mean God declaring righteous those who believe in the work of His only-begotten Son.

Imputing (counting or reckoning) righteousness is the main concern of this chapter, and this happens through faith, not through works.

KJV Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

In our turmoil as sinners, what we desire is peace and forgiveness. Paul clearly describes how this state comes upon us, when the weight of sin is taken away from us. The contrast is between the work of circumcision and faith – for faith was counted as righteousness, as Luther’s famous sermons says. Faith is justification.

KJV Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

Romans 4 cannot be mangled into saying the entire world is justified at any point, because the chapter emphasizes many, not all, and many means exactly that.

KJV Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

Because Abraham believed in the Promises of God, his faith was counted as righteousness.

KJV Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

The persistent cussedness of UOJ can be exposed easily in the following passage. Their precious diamond of universal absolution is really a justification by faith passage, except they never ever quote or mention Romans 4:24. We will be declared forgiven if we believe in Him Who was raised Jesus from the dead, Who was betrayed for our worst sins and raised up so we might be declared forgiven.

KJV Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Nothing could be farther from the bizarre claim of UOJ than Romans 4:25 in context. And that context must be remembered in the following chapter, which continues and expands upon justification by faith. The “therefore” is a transitional word to move us from Romans 4:25, connecting that theme with the expanded version of it.

Romans 5
KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The first two verses can be seen both as the heading for this chapter and as the climax of Romans 4. Peace is the one of the main fruits of forgiveness, which is made plain by elaboration. Through Christ we have access by faith to God’s grace. Faith is not opposed to grace, and it is not a grace-filled man who shouts down faith in the name of grace. The Gospel message of Paul holds up Christ as the Redeemer, God’s grace as the motivation behind this act, and faith as the way we receive this grace.

The acts and characteristics of God are almost always found in three-fold expressions. That is repeated in this classic passage.
A. Christ died for the ungodly when we were without strength.
B. Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
C. We were reconciled to God by Christ’s death while we were still enemies.

KJV Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Mainline ministers find social activism (and nothing else) in the Scriptures, while UOJ advocates find UOJ in the midst of justification by faith passages. The verb for justification is only used for justification by faith, something the UOJ leaders have conceded in many places. That is why they look for UOJ where the verb is not used. Justification is used in verse nine, so this paragraph is not useful for them.

The beauty of verses 6-10 comes from the three-fold emphasis about God acting on our behalf while we were still weak, still sinners, still enemies of God. The act of the Atonement or reconciliation is first. The proclamation of the Atonement, through the Means of Grace, follows.

Romans 5:19 is listed without explanation, in the Brief Statement, as another passage promoting UOJ. Some like verse 18, claiming that the offense is exactly equal to the free gift. In one sense it is. Everyone is a sinful mortal because of Adam, and everyone has access to God’s grace through Christ. However, there is a difference between what God desires for the good and what man falls away from or rejects. The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13, Mark 4) is clear about that. The many in verse 19 can only be understood as excluding all, and UOJ is fanatical about stating that all are absolved, all are innocent, all are forgiven, all have the status of guilt-free saints.

KJV Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21
KJV 2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The Brief Statement lists this passage as proving their case, and the UOJ promoters line up behind it. Here their salesmen are confused by several errors in thinking. One error is the adoption of Calvin’s line of thinking – we believe because we are saved, a symptom of his double-predestination scheme.

Although the UOJ salesmen accuse their opponents of being Calvinists, anyone can see how the Brief Statement is a rewording of Calvin’s “horrible decree.”

Calvin – “God preordained, for his own glory and the display of His attributes of mercy and justice, a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation.”

UOJ – God has already declared the entire world forgiven, and those who believe this are saved.
"For God has already forgiven you your sins 1800 years ago when He in Christ absolved all men by raising Him after He first had gone into bitter death for them. Only one thing remains on your part so that you also possess the gift. This one thing is—faith. And this brings me to the second part of today's Easter message, in which I now would show you that every man who wants to be saved must accept by faith the general absolution, pronounced 1800 years ago, as an absolution spoken individually to him." C. F. W. Walther, The Word of His Grace, Sermon Selections, "Christ's Resurrection—The World's Absolution" Lake Mills: Graphic Publishing Company, 1978, p. 233. Mark 16:1-8.
Calvin and Walther are exactly alike in stating propositions and assuming their individual authority makes them true. There is some difference in Calvin advocating a Limited Atonement while Universalism trembles on the lips of Walther. If everyone is forgiven, then everyone is saved, and that paved the way in the Synodical Conference for doctrinal indifference, Church Growth, unionism with ELCA, and implicit Universalism.
Justification is not the same as the Atonement, often translated as reconciliation. Those who swear by Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament imagine that the history of a word defines its use in the New Testament. Thus, the history of reconciliation/atonement as making change (four quarters for a dollar, etc) is an open door for UOJ. They argue, “If Christ has paid for the sins of the world, no sins are left. If Christ has become sin, the world has become righteous.”
However, the Scriptures and the Book of Concord clearly distinguish between the Atonement or reconciliation and justification by faith. The wrath of God remains on unbelievers, but those who believe in the One Who raised Jesus from the dead are forgiven.
UOJ is utterly inconsistent, while the Word of God is perfectly consistent, without any errors or contradictions.
Here are just a few of the contradictions in UOJ:
1. Everyone has already been declared forgiven, so the Law has no purpose.
2. This universal absolution happened either at the death of Christ or at His resurrection. Both versions are taught and some clever people combine them.
3. No one needs to repent, since everyone is absolved of sin.
4. Universal absolution is Gospel without the Gospel.
5. Holy Baptism is unnecessary.
6. Holy Communion is superfluous.
7. There is no reason to abstain from unionism. Everyone is forgiven.
8. There are no false teachers, since everyone is a guilt-free saint.
9. Sermons are a problem, so they are converted into coaching sessions with various forms of man-made law.
10. The purpose of the church is to tell people they are already forgiven, before they even hear a word of the Gospel.
11. The Law is obsolete except the man-made law – The church must grow. Since God resists being bossed around by Fuller flunkies, the new law is – The church must transform lives. This is the new Pietism.
12. The New Pietism of transforming lives is already morphing into transforming society (Rick Warren, Ed Stetzer), so the Old Pietists of WELS, Missouri, and the ELS become the New Pietists – ELCA.

Justification Quotations

Justification By Faith Quotations


From Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant (second edition):

However, Preus clarified the true meaning of justification in his final book, Justification and Rome, which was published posthumously. Preus wrote this definitive comment:

"But the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the sinner takes place when the Holy Spirit brings him to faith through Baptism and the Word of the Gospel. Our sins were imputed to Christ at His suffering and death, imputed objectively after He, by His active and passive obedience, fulfilled and procured all righteousness for us. But the imputation of His righteousness to us takes place when we are brought to faith."

Preus immediately followed the statement above with a quotation from Quenstedt, one of his favorite orthodox Lutheran authors:

It is not just the same thing to say, “Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us” and to say “Christ is our righteousness.” For the imputation did not take place when Christ became our righteousness. The righteousness of Christ is the effect of His office. The imputation is the application of the effect of His office. The one, however, does not do away with the other. Christ is our righteousness effectively when He justifies us. His righteousness is ours objectively because our faith rests in Him. His righteousness is ours formally in that His righteousness is imputed to us.

Preus also quoted Abraham Calov with approval:

"Although Christ has acquired for us the remission of sins, justification, and sonship, God just the same does not justify us prior to our faith. Nor do we become God's children in Christ in such a way that justification in the mind of God takes place before we believe."

"This article concerning justification by faith (as the Apology says) is the chief article in the entire Christian doctrine, without which no poor conscience can have any firm consolation, or can truly know the riches of the grace of Christ, as Dr. Luther also has written: If this only article remains pure on the battlefield, the Christian Church also remains pure, and in goodly harmony and without any sects; but if it does not remain pure, it is not possible that any error or fanatical spirit can be resisted. (Tom. 5, Jena, p. 159.) And concerning this article especially Paul says that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #6, Righteous of Faith before God, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 917. Tappert, p. 540. Heiser, p. 250.

J-504
"We do not find the idea that Paul here says that when Christ died, when in and by His death God reconciled the world objectively, He then and there (or at the time of Christ's resurrection) forgave all sins to the whole world. Auvtoi/j (Autois) = individuals and refers to their subjective reconciliation. The use so often made of this passage should be modified. On the question of universal and personal justification consult the author's Interpretation of Romans, 5:10, also 1:17.”
R. C. H. Lenski, Corinthians, Columbus: Wartburg Press, 1946, p. 1048. 2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 5:10; Romans 1:17.
J-505
“The resurrection and life of Jesus Christ is a cause, that is, an efficacious means of our spiritual resurrection and spiritual life; for it causes us to believe and to rise (from sin), as we read in 10:9: ‘If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ In Christ’s death we die unto spiritual life, as we read in 6:3-4: ‘So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death (that) we also should walk in newness of life.’”
Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1954, p. 93. Romans 5:10.
J-509
"Nowhere in the Bible is any man constituted or declared righteous ‘without faith, before faith.’”
R. C. H. Lenski, Romans, Augsburg Publishing House: Minneapolis, 1963, p. 382. Romans 5:19-20.
J-516
"The apostle says 'our,' 'our sins;' not his own sin, not the sins of unbelievers. Purification is not for, and cannot profit, him who does not believe. Nor did Christ effect the cleansing by our free-will, our reason or power, our works, our contrition or repentance, these all being worthless in the sight of God; he effects it by himself. And how? By taking our sins upon himself on the holy cross, as Isaiah 53:6 tells us."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 180. Hebrews 1:1-12; Hebrews 1:3.
J-517
"Christ is speaking here not of the word of the law, but of the Gospel, which is a discourse about Christ, who died for our sins, etc. For God did not wish to impart Christ to the world in any other way; He had to embody Him in the Word and thus distributed Him, and present Him to everybody; otherwise Christ would have existed for Himself alone and remained unknown to us; he would have thus died for himself. But since the Word places before us Christ, it thus places us before Him who has triumphed over death, sin, and Satan. Therefore, he who grasps and retains Christ, has thus also eternal deliverance from death. Consequently it is a Word of life, and it is true, that whoever keeps the Word shall never see death."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 177. John 8:46-59.
J-518
"To this incline your ears, and be persuaded that God speaks through men and forgives you your sins; this, of course, requires faith."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 200.
J-519
"If I do not believe it, I will not receive its benefits; but that neither renders it false nor proves that anything is lacking in Christ."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 258. Easter, Third Sermon. Mark 16:1-8.
J-520
"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the HS came...."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279. Pentecost Sunday. John 14:23-31.
J-521
"All who are born into the world of man and woman are sinful under God's anger and curse, condemned to death. For all are conceived and born in sin as Scripture testifies (Psalm 51:5): 'Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., ed., Eugene Klug, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996, II, p. 26. Easter Tuesday. Luke 24:13-35; Psalm 51:5.
J-522
"The 'rod of His mouth' signifies the spoken Word or the Gospel, which proceeds from the mouth of all whose teaching is pure. It is not inefficacious; it bears fruit; it justifies the godly and destroys the ungodly."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald M. Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1469. Brief comment. Isaiah 11:4.
J-523
"Christ did indeed suffer for the whole world; but how many are there who believe and cherish this fact? Therefore, although the work of redemption itself has been accomplished, it still cannot help and benefit a man unless he believes it and experiences its saving power in his heart."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 705f. Smalcald, 1537.
J-524
"If remission of sins without repentance is preached, the people imagine that they have already forgiveness of sins, and thereby they are made secure and unconcerned. This is a greater error and sin than all error of former times, and it is verily to be feared that we are in that danger which Christ points out when He says, Matthew 12:45: 'The last state of that man shall be worse than the first.'"
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 123. Matthew 12:45.

Augsburg Confession
J-525
"Also they teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that there are two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably conjoined in one Person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men."
Augsburg Confession, III. #1. Of the Son of God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 45. Tappert, p. 29. Heiser, p. 12.
J-526
“Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Romans 3 and 4.”
Augsburg Confession, IV. #1. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 45. Tappert, p. 30. Heiser, p. 12f.
Apology of the Augsburg Confession
J-527
"The Third Article the adversaries approve, in which we confess that there are in Christ two natures, namely, a human nature, assumed by the Word into the unity of His person; and that the same Christ suffered and died to reconcile the Father to us; and that He was raised again to reign, and to justify and sanctify believers, etc., according to the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, III. #52. Of Christ, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 119. Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:19ff. Tapper, p. 107. Heiser, p. 32.
J-528
"Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure. It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #48. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Heiser, p. 36.
J-529
"Now, that faith signifies, not only a knowledge of the history, but such faith as assents to the promise, Paul plainly testifies when he says, Romans 4:16: 'Therefore it is of faith, to the end the promise might be sure.' For he judges that the promise cannot be received unless by faith. Wherefore he puts them together as things that belong to one another, and connects promise and faith."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV. #51. Of Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Romans 4:16. Tappert, p. 114. Heiser, p. 36.
J-530
"This faith, encouraging and consoling in these fears, receives remission of sins, justifies and quickens. For this consolation is a new and spiritual life [a new birth and a new life]. These things are plain and clear, and can be understood by the pious, and have testimonies of the Church [as is to be seen in the conversion of Paul and Augustine]. The adversaries nowhere can say how the Holy Ghost is given. They imagine that the Sacraments confer the Holy Ghost ex opere operato, without a good emotion in the recipient, as though, indeed, the gift of the Holy Ghost were an idle matter."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV. #63. Of Justification,, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 139. Tappert, p. 115. Heiser, p. 37.
J-531
"Now we will show that faith [and nothing else] justifies."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #69. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 141. Tappert, p. 116. Heiser, p. 37.
J-532
"But to believe is to trust in the merits of Christ, that for His sake God certainly wishes to be reconciled with us. Likewise, just as we ought to maintain that, apart from the Law, the promise of Christ is necessary, so also is it needful to maintain that faith justifies. [For the Law does not preach the forgiveness of sin by grace.] For the Law cannot be performed unless the Holy Ghost be first received. It is, therefore, needful to maintain that the promise of Christ is necessary. But this cannot be received except by faith. Therefore, those who deny that faith justifies, teach nothing but the Law, both Christ and the Gospel being set aside.”
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #69. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. p. 141. Tappert, p. 116. Heiser, p. 37.
J-533
"We do not believe thus {that faith is just a beginning of justification} concerning faith, but we maintain this, that properly and truly, by faith itself, we are for Christ's sake accounted righteous, or are acceptable to God. And because 'to be justified' means that out of unjust men just men are made, or born again, it means also that they are pronounced or accounted just. For Scripture speaks in both ways. [The term to be justified is used in two ways: to denote, being converted or regenerated; again, being accounted righteous.] Accordingly we wish first to show this, that faith alone makes of an unjust, a just man, i. e., receives remission of sins."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #71-2. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 141. Tappert, p. 116f. Heiser, p. 38.
J-534
"But since we receive remission of sins and the Holy Ghost by faith alone, faith alone justifies, because those reconciled are accounted righteous and children of God, not on account of their own purity, but through mercy for Christ's sake, provided only they by faith apprehend this mercy."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #86. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 147. Tappert, p. 119. Heiser, p. 39.
J-535
"In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul discusses this topic especially, and declares that, when we believe that God, for Christ's sake, is reconciled to us, we are justified freely by faith."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #87. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 147. 2 Corinthians 5:19ff. Tappert, p. 119f. Heiser, p. 39.
J-536
"These things are so plain and so manifest that we wonder that the madness of the adversaries is so great as to call them into doubt. The proof is manifest that, since we are justified before God not from the Law, but from the promise, it is necessary to ascribe justification to faith."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, III. #177. Of Love and the Fulfilling of the Law. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 205. Tappert, p. 153. Heiser, p. 60.
J-537
"Scripture thus uses the term faith, as the following sentence of Paul testifies, Romans 5:1: Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Moreover, in this passage, to justify signifies, according to forensic usage, to acquit a guilty one and declare him righteous, but on account of the righteousness of another, namely, of Christ, which righteousness of another is communicated to us by faith...1 Corinthians 1:30. Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. And 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. But because the righteousness of Christ is given us by faith, faith is for this reason righteousness in us imputatively, i. e., it is that by which we are made acceptable to God on account of the imputation and ordinance of God, as Paul says, Romans 4:3, 5: Faith is reckoned for righteousness."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, III. #184. Of Love and the Fulfilling of the Law. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 205f. Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21. Tappert, p. 154. Heiser, p. 60.
J-538
"But as the Confutation condemns us for having assigned these two parts to repentance, we must show that [not we, but] Scripture expresses these as the chief parts in repentance and conversion. For Christ says, Matthew 11:28: Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Here there are two members. The labor and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and of death. To come to Christ is to believe that sins are remitted for Christ's sake; when we believe, our hearts are quickened by the Holy Ghost through the Word of Christ. Here, therefore, there are these two chief parts, contrition and faith."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII (V). #44. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 263. Matthew 11:28. Tappert, p. 187. Heiser, p. 81.
J-539
“That absolution, however, is not received except by faith can be proved from Paul, who teaches, Romans 4:16, that the promise cannot be received except by faith. But absolution is the promise of the remission of sins [nothing else than the Gospel, the divine promise of God’s grace and favor]. Therefore, it necessarily requires faith. Neither do we see how he who does not assent to it may be said to receive absolution.”
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XII. #61-62. Of Repentance. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 269. Romans 4:16. Tappert, p. 190. Heiser, p. 83.
J-540
"The Gospel teaches that by faith we receive freely, for Christ's sake, the remission of sins and are reconciled to God."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XV. #5. Human Traditions. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 317. Tappert, p. 215. Heiser, p. 96.
The Smalcald Articles
J-541
“Likewise: All have sinned and are justified without merit [freely, and without their own works or merits] by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood, Romans 3:23f. Now, since it is necessary to believe this, and it cannot be otherwise acquired or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us, as St. Paul says, Romans 3:28: For we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Likewise, v. 26: That He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Christ.”
Smalcald Articles, The Second Part, Article I. #4. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 461. Tappert, p. 292. Heiser, p. 137.
J-542
“What I have hitherto and constantly taught concerning this I know not how to change in the least, namely, that by faith, as St. Peter says, we acquire a new and clean heart, and God will and does account us entirely righteous and holy for the sake of Christ, our Mediator. And although sin in the flesh has not yet ben altogether removed or become dead, yet He will not punish or remember it. And such faith, renewal, and forgiveness of sins is followed by good works.”
Smalcald Articles, The Third Part, Article XIII. #1-2. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 499. Tappert, p. 315. Heiser, p. 148.

The Large Catechism
J-543
"Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and even before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept {erkennen und annehmen; agnoscamus et accipiamus} such forgiveness. For since the flesh in which we daily live is of such a nature that it neither trusts nor believes God, and is ever active in evil lusts and devices, so that we sin daily in word and deed, by commission and omission, by which the conscience is thrown into unrest, so that it is afraid of the wrath and displeasure of God, and thus loses the comfort and confidence derived from the Gospel; therefore it is ceaselessly necessary that we run hither and obtain consolation to comfort the conscience again."
The Large Catechism, The Lord's Prayer, Fifth Petition, #88-89, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 723. Matthew 6:12. Tappert, p. 432. Heiser, p. 202f.

Formula of Concord
J-544
"The third controversy which has arisen among some theologians of the Augsburg Confession is concerning the righteousness of Christ or of faith, which God imputes by grace, through faith, to poor sinners for righteousness."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #1. Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 917. Tappert, p. 539. Heiser, p. 250.
J-545
"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #10. Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 919. Tappert, p. 541. Heiser, p. 250.
J-546
"Accordingly, the word justify here means to declare righteous and free from sins, and to absolve one from eternal punishment for the sake of Christ's righteousness, which is imputed by God to faith, Philippians 3:9. For this use and understanding of this word is common in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament. Proverbs 17:15: He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord. Isaiah 5:23: Woe unto them which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Romans 8:33: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, that is, absolves from sins and acquits."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #17. Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 921. Philippians 3:9; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23; Romans 8:33. Tappert, p. 541f. Heiser, p. 251.
J-547
"For when man is justified through faith [which the Holy Ghost alone works], this is truly a regeneration, because from a child of wrath he becomes a child of God, and thus is transferred from death to life, as it is written; When we were dead in sins, He hath quickened us together with Christ, Ephesians 2:5. Likewise: The just shall live by faith, Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #20. Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 921. Tappert, p. 542. Heiser, p. 251.
J-548
“But here very good attention must be given with especial diligence, if the article of justification is to remain pure, lest that which precedes faith, and that which follows after it, be mingled together or inserted into the article of justification as necessary and belonging to it, because it is not one or the same thing to speak of conversion and of justification. For not everything that belongs to conversion belongs likewise to the article of justification, in and to which belong and are necessary only the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and faith, which receives this in the promise of the Gospel, whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, whence we receive and have forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life. Therefore true, saving faith is not in those who are without contrition and sorrow, and have a wicked purpose to remain and persevere in sins; but true contrition precedes, and genuine faith is in or with true repentance [justifying faith is in those who repent truly, not feignedly].”
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #24-26. Of the Righteousness of Faith Before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 921. Tappert, p. 543. Heiser, p. 251.
J-549
"Moreover, neither contrition nor love or any other virtue, but faith alone is the sole means and instrument by which and through which we can receive and accept the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, which are offered us in the promise of the Gospel."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #31. Of the Righteous of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 925. Tappert, p. 544. Heiser, p. 252.
J-550
"Here belongs also what St. Paul writes Romans 4:3, that Abraham was justified before God by faith alone, for the sake of the Mediator, without the cooperation of his works, not only when he was first converted from idolatry and had no good works, but also afterwards, when he had been renewed by the Holy Ghost, and adorned with many excellent good works, Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:8. And Paul puts the following questions, Romans 4:1ff.: On what did Abraham's righteousness before God for everlasting life, by which he had a gracious God, and was pleasing and acceptable to Him, rest at that time?
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #33. Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 927. Romans 4:3; Romans 4:1ff; Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:8. Tappert, p. 545. Heiser, p. 252.
J-551
"For good works do not precede faith, neither does sanctification precede justification. But first faith is kindled in us in conversion by the Holy Ghost from the hearing of the Gospel. This lays hold of God's grace in Christ, by which the person is justified. Then, when the person is justified, he is also renewed and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, from which renewal and sanctification the fruits of good works then follow."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #41, Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 929. Tappert, p. 546. Heiser, p. 253.
J-552
“...God in His purpose and counsel ordained [decreed]:
1. That the human race is truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ, who, by His faultless [innocency] obedience, suffering, and death, has merited for us the righteousness which avails before God, and eternal life.
2. That such merit and benefits of Christ shall be presented, offered, and distributed to us through His Word and Sacraments.
3. That by His Holy Ghost, through the Word, when it is preached, heard, and pondered, He will be efficacious and active in us, convert hearts to true repentance, and preserve them in the true faith.
4. That He will justify all those who in true repentance receive Christ by a true faith, and will receive them into grace, the adoption of sons, and the inheritance of eternal life."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, XI. #15. Of God's Eternal Election. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 1069. 2 Corinthians 5:19ff. Tappert, p. 619. Heiser, p. 288. [emphasis added]
J-553
"On this account, as the Augsburg Confession in Article XI says, we also retain private absolution, and teach that it is God's command that we believe such absolution, and should regard it as sure that, when we believe the word of absolution, we are as truly reconciled to God as though we had heard a voice from heaven, as the Apology explains this article. This consolation would be entirely taken from us if we were not to infer the will of God towards us from the call which is made through the Word and through the Sacraments."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, XI. #38. Of God's Eternal Election. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 1075. Tappert, p. 622. Heiser, p. 289.

David Chytraeus, Concordist
J-554
"How is a person justified before God? This occurs solely by faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ; that is, freely, not because of any works or merits of one's own but only because of the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial victim and propitiation on our behalf. By this sacrifice, man obtained forgiveness of sins and became righteous; that is, God-pleasing and acceptable. His righteousness was imputed to man for Christ's sake, and man becomes an heir of eternal life when he believes with certainty that God gives him these blessings for the sake of His Son."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 105.
"Christian righteousness is the forgiveness of sin, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ and acceptance to eternal life. It is free, not the result of any virtues or works but is given solely because of Christ, the Mediator, and apprehended by faith alone."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 106.
"Scripture therefore uses these words, 'We are justified by faith,' to teach both: 1) What the reason (or merit) for justification is, or what the blessings of Christ are; to wit, that through and for the sake of Christ alone we are granted forgiveness of sins, righteousness and eternal life; and 2. How these should be applied or transferred to us; namely, by embracing the promise and relying on Christ by faith alone."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 107.
Martin Chemnitz, Concordist
J-555
"But when we are speaking of the subject itself, it is certain that the doctrine of gracious reconciliation, of the remission of sins, of righteousness, salvation, and eternal life through faith for the sake of the Mediator is one and the same in the Old and in the New Testament. This is a useful rule which we must retain at all costs: The doctrine, wherever we read it, in either the Old or New Testament, which deals with the gracious reconciliation and the remission of sins through faith for the sake of God's mercy in Christ, is the Gospel."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 459.
"Therefore God, 'who is rich in mercy' [Ephesians 2:4], has had mercy upon us and has set forth a propitiation through faith in the blood of Christ, and those who flee as suppliants to this throne of grace He absolves from the comprehensive sentence of condemnation, and by the imputation of the righteousness of His Son, which they grasp in faith, He pronounces them righteous, receives them into grace, and adjudges them to be heirs of eternal life. This is certainly the judicial meaning of the word 'justification,' in almost the same way that a guilty man who has been sentenced before the bar of justice is acquitted."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 482. Ephesians 2:4
"Yet these exercises of faith always presuppose, as their foundation, that God is reconciled by faith, and to this they are always led back, so that faith may be certain and the promise sure in regard to these other objects. This explanation is confirmed by the brilliant statement of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:20: 'All the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen, to the glory of God through us,' that is, the promises concerning other objects of faith have only then been ratified for us when by faith in Christ we are reconciled with God. The promises have been made valid on the condition that they must give glory to God through us."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 495. 2 Corinthians 1:20
"Therefore this apprehension or acceptance or application of the promise of grace is the formal cause or principle of justifying faith, according to the language of Scripture."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 502.
"We must note the foundations. For we are justified by faith, not because it is so firm, robust, and perfect a virtue, but because of the object on which it lays hold, namely Christ, who is the Mediator in the promise of grace. Therefore when faith does not err in its object, but lays hold on that true object, although with a weak faith, or at least tries and wants to lay hold on Christ, then there is true faith, and it justifies. The reason for this is demonstrated in those lovely statements in Philippians 3:12: 'I apprehend, or rather I am apprehended by Christ' and Galatians 4:9: 'You have known God, or rather have been known by God.' Scripture shows a beautiful example of this in Mark 9:24: 'I believe; help my unbelief.'"
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 503. Philippians 3:12; Galatians 4:9; Mark 9:24.
"For we are not justified because of our faith (propter fidem), in the sense of faith being a virtue or good work on our part. Thus we pray, as did the man in Mark 9:24: 'I believe, Lord; help my unbelief'; and with the apostles: 'Lord, increase our faith,' Luke 17:5."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 506 Mark 9:24; Luke 17:5.
"But because not doubt but faith justifies, and not he who doubts but he who believes has eternal life, therefore faith teaches the free promise, which relies on the mercy of God for the sake of the sacrifice of the Son, the Mediator, and not on our works, as Paul says in Romans 4:16: 'Therefore it is of faith, that the promise might be sure according to grace.'"
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 507. Romans 4:16
"Thus when we say that we are justified by faith, we are saying nothing else than that for the sake of the Son of God we receive remission of sins and are accounted as righteous. And because it is necessary that this benefit be taken hold of, this is said to be done 'by faith,' that is, by trust in the mercy promised us for the sake of Christ. Thus we must also understand the correlative expression, 'We are righteous by faith,' that is, through the mercy of God for the sake of His Son we are righteous or accepted."
Melanchthon, Loci Communes, “The Word Faith.” Cited in Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. p. 489.
Jacob Andreae, Concordist
"Concerning the article on the justification of the poor sinner in God's sight, we believe, teach, and confess on the basis of God's Word and the position of our Christian Augsburg Confession that the poor, sinful person is justified in God's sight—that is, he is pronounced free and absolved of his sins and receives forgiveness for them—only through faith, because of the innocent, complete, and unique obedience and the bitter sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, not because of the indwelling, essential righteousness of God or because of his own good works, which either precede or result from faith. We reject all doctrines contrary to this belief and confession."
Jacob Andreae, Confession and Brief Explanation of Certain Disputed Articles. Cited in Robert Kolb, Andreae and the Formula of Concord, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977, p. 58.
"Indeed, it has been proved more than sufficiently from the Scriptures of the prophets and apostles in the Old and New Testaments that the righteousness which avails in God's sight, which poor sinners have for comfort in their worst temptations, cannot and should not be sought in our own virtues or good works; nor will it be found there, as was proved above against the papists. Instead, it should be sought only in Christ the Lord, whom God has made our righteousness and who saves all believing Christians and makes them righteous through knowledge of Him."
Jacob Andreae, The First Sermon, On the Righteousness of Faith in God's Sight. Cited in Robert Kolb, Andreae and the Formula of Concord, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977, p. 67.
"That is enough on the first article concerning which the theologians of the Augsburg Confession have quarreled with each other. Although it was a very scandalous controversy, nonetheless God, who lets nothing evil happen if He cannot make something good out of it, has produced this benefit for His church through the controversy: The chief article of our Christian faith, on which our salvation depends, has been made clear, so that there is not a passage in the Old or New Testament which has not been considered and discussed."
Jacob Andreae, The First Sermon, On the Righteousness of Faith in God's Sight. Cited in Robert Kolb, Andreae and the Formula of Concord, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977, p. 76.
J-579
"#305. Why do you say in this article: I believe in the Forgiveness of Sins? Because I hold with certainty that by my own powers or through my own works I cannot be justified before God, but that the forgiveness of sins is given me out of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also true justification. Psalm 130:3-4; Psalm 143:2; Isaiah 64:6; Job 25:4-6 (Q. 124)."
Kleiner Katechismus, trans. Pastor Vernon Harley, LCMS, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1901, p. 164ff.
"#306. What is justification? Justification is that activity (Handlung) of God by which He out of pure grace and mercy for the sake of Christ's merits forgives the sins of a poor sinner who truly believes in Jesus Christ and receives him to everlasting life."
Kleiner Katechismus, trans. Pastor Vernon Harley, LCMS, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1901, p. 164ff.
Martin Luther, on Justification by Faith, Book of Concord
J-590
"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415. Heiser, p. 194.
A similar expression of justification by faith, comparing the Gospel to treasure being distributed by the Holy Spirit, can be found in one of Luther’s sermons. We can see from many different examples in Luther and the Book of Concord that justification by faith is based upon the objective truth of the universal atonement of Christ, with an emphasis upon both elements, never with one emphasized at the expense of the other.
J-591
"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the Holy Spirit came...."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279. Pentecost Sunday. John 14:23-31.

Advocates of Kokomo justification are forever stating that people are already forgiven. One ELS pastor made this comparison: “A man is sitting in a jail cell. But he does not know that the cell is not locked. All he needs to do is walk out!” Once again, the message is one of universalism: all sins are forgiven. This message is a modern form of anti-nomianism, cheaper than cheap grace, because the Law and contrition are forgotten. The second part—walking out of an unlocked cell—reminds us of the Billy Graham Crusade, except it is not as sophisticated as “making a decision for Christ.” One Lutheran was very disturbed by this statement about walking out of an unlocked jail cell. What happened to sin and repentance? Two liberal theologians, both very influential, F. Schleiermach and Paul Tillich, both taught justification as “accepting God’s acceptance.” Although the Kokomo advocates do not realize it, because they are not well read, they are shamelessly repeating the liberal evasions of Schleiermacher and Tillich in the name of the Gospel. There is no forgiveness apart from the Means of Grace, as the following citation from the Book of Concord shows.

J-592
"But outside of this Christian Church, where the Gospel is not, there is no forgiveness, as also there can be no holiness [sanctification]. Therefore all who seek and wish to merit holiness [sanctification], not through the Gospel and forgiveness of sin, but by their works, have expelled and severed themselves [from this Church]."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #56, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693. Tappert, p. 418. Heiser, p. 195.

We can peer into the thinking of the Formula of Concord authors by reading their works. David Chytraeus is largely forgotten today, but he was highly regarded in his time. His Summary of the Christian Faith was printed for a century after his death in 1600. In the following quotation, several points are made.
1. Justification takes place solely by faith.
2. Man obtained forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ.
3. Man becomes righteous when he believes.
It is easy to see how the second point was increasingly isolated by generations of church leaders, until it became another justification. Current leaders latch onto such statements and say, “Aha! Universal justification!” They could assign any particular name to it, without fault, if they portrayed God’s actions in harmony with the Scriptures. But they do not. By isolating the act of propitiation from the Means of Grace, by forgetting the efficacy of the Word, the Kokomo advocates make a muddle out of the Gospel. They have re-introduced the Reformed Monster of Uncertainty about salvation because their real authorities are Reformed and not Lutheran. Chytraeus is clear and easy to follow in his statement about justification by faith.

David Chytraeus, Concordist, On Justification by Faith
J-593

"How is a person justified before God? This occurs solely by faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ; that is, freely, not because of any works or merits of one's own but only because of the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial victim and propitiation on our behalf. By this sacrifice, man obtained forgiveness of sins and became righteous; that is, God-pleasing and acceptable. His righteousness was imputed to man for Christ's sake, and man becomes an heir of eternal life when he believes with certainty that God gives him these blessings for the sake of His Son."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 105.

"Christian righteousness is the forgiveness of sin, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ and acceptance to eternal life. It is free, not the result of any virtues or works but is given solely because of Christ, the Mediator, and apprehended by faith alone."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 106.

"Scripture therefore uses these words, 'We are justified by faith,' to teach both: 1) What the reason (or merit) for justification is, or what the blessings of Christ are; to wit, that through and for the sake of Christ alone we are granted forgiveness of sins, righteousness and eternal life; and 2. How
these should be applied or transferred to us; namely, by embracing the promise and relying on Christ by faith alone."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 107.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Justification by Faith Essay - Research Summary


Cover by Norma Boeckler


Research Summary – Justification by Faith

The debate must be understood in the context of the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace—emphatically denied and ridiculed by the Reformed—but clearly taught in the Scriptures, the Confessions, and the post-Concord theologians.

God only works through the Word, and His grace comes to us only through the invisible Word of preaching and teaching, the visible Word of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Contrary opinions are labeled Enthusiasm in Luther and the Book of Concord, and Enthusiasm is roundly condemned in both.

Reconciliation is a synonym for the Atonement, showing us that Christ has paid for the sins of the world. Some other associated words are ransom, redemption (two different verbs with two different meanings), and propitiation.

Justification means the declaration of God’s forgiveness, received through faith, so there is a difference—always confused by UOJ—between forgiveness won by Christ and forgiveness declared.

UOJ, in all its forms, teaches that the entire world was absolved from sin, at the death of Christ, or at His resurrection. UOJ emphasizes forgiveness without faith, without the Word, grace without the Means of Grace.

Therefore, UOJ is the Midwestern version of Calvinism – we believe because we are already saved. WELS even had an evangelism campaign where the banners proclaimed to the public – I Am Saved, Just Like You.

UOJ advocates argue fatuously that one must embrace their Calvinistic opinion or be branded Calvinists! They teach that the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone is the equivalent of Calvin’s Limited Atonement.

UOJ tries to rescue itself from the charge of Universalism by arguing double justification – one where the entire world is absolved without faith, the second where the individual is absolved with faith. Although this is closely related to Calvinism, it is often expressed as Decision Theology – You are already forgiven, now decide whether to believe it (J. P. Meyer, WELS).

UOJ already existed in the English translation of Knapp’s theology book, widely used in America and Europe, in English and German, before the Synodical Conference began. Knapp was a Pietistic Lutheran at Halle University. Pietism is unionistic, indifferent about doctrine, and profoundly influenced by Calvinism.

C. F. W. Walther had many fine characteristics, but he became a believer through Pietism and never completely escaped the thought-patterns of Pietism. He criticized many Pietists but never Spener, the founder of Pietism. To be fair, Spener was considered untouchable among 19th century Lutherans.

Lutherans in all synods were lax in teaching the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace. For that reason they have succumbed to various forms of Enthusiasm and Pietism:

1. The Ecumenical Movement.
2. Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement.
3. The Church Growth Movement, aka Emerging Church, aka Becoming Missional.
4. New Age occult concepts – Paul Y. Cho, Leonard Sweet, and others.
5. Lay-led cell groups, often called home Bible study groups, share groups, koinonia, care groups, and whatever else markets the concept.
6. Receptionism, which denies the power of the Word in the consecration of the elements of Holy Communion.
7. “Everyone is a minister”, confusing the priesthood of all believers with the preaching office.



Sunday, April 11, 2010

Quasimodogeniti


"Unless you have the faith of a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom."
By Norma Boeckler.



Quasimodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Savings Time


The Hymn # 199 Jesus Christ is Risen 1:83
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 200 I Know that My Redeemer 1:80

Faith and the Holy Sacraments

The Communion Hymn # 187 Christ Is Arisen 1:45
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 195 (Luther) Christ Jesus 1:46

First Sunday After Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thine ineffable grace, for the sake of Thy Son, Thou hast given us the holy gospel, and hast instituted the holy sacraments, that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily believe Thy word; and through the holy sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Faith and the Holy Sacraments
These two lessons, the Epistle and the Gospel, teach us about faith and the Sacraments.

The perfect unity of the Scriptures is always visible in the texts, but sometimes it is so obvious that I wonder how people miss it.

Usually the Epistle and the Gospel go their separate ways and do not relate to each other directly. The historic texts--abandoned by the liberals for the Vatican A-B-C readings--are so old that no one can really explain the reasons behind some selections. Luther complained a little about some.

But tradition is the democracy of the dead and we have to respect that. Modern motives are more transparent.

The reading from the Gospel is obvious because it deal with Easter Sunday and its octave (one week later, but 8 days by Jewish reckoning).

The epistle is also by John, so the two readings naturally go together: the Gospel telling the story itself, the Epistle explaining the meaning of the Gospel.

The Epistle
Faith must be important for the disciple Jesus loved, John. The victory which overcomes the world is faith.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Those who try to make faith into something man-centered are wrong. The meaning of the word in its Biblical context is most important.

As taught in John 3, we must be born “from above” (the Greek word has a double-meaning, primarily “from above” but also “born again.”) Born from above means being water-Spirit born, - baptized. God Himself plants this faith in our hearts - by the Word if we are converted by preaching as adults, by Holy Baptism if we are converted by the visible Word as babies. In both cases, the Holy Spirit works through the Word to convert unbelievers into believers.

This epistle lesson glorifies God by saying first – whatever is born of God overcomes the world. The disciple, in his Gospel and letters, emphasized the animosity of the world toward the believer. But this hatred is overcome something God-created: our faith.

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God has that faith which overcomes the world.” (My paraphrase of the next verse.)

These are beautiful statements, revealed for us to comfort and encourage us. We can hardly imagine how much greater the animosity was toward the Christian faith in the apostolic era. The officially recognized religion of Judaism became opposed to Christianity because of the many converts won over from preaching in the synagogues.

At the same time, the Roman Empire persecuted the Christians for being a sect of the troublesome Jews. After the great Zealot revolt of 69 AD and the lesser known Bar Kochba revolt, about 50 years later, Jews were hated and feared in the Empire. Christians claimed to follow a Jewish leaders, so they were in the same category of political rebels.

These verses do not say that we overcome the world, but that God-created faith overcomes the world.

The Gospel
For an example of that faith – or the lack thereof – we have the John 20 passage, often called the Doubting Thomas story, just as this Sunday is often called Doubting Thomas Sunday, also “Dead Sunday” because ministers are on vacation and attendance is low.

This should be the highest attendance Sunday of all for Lutherans. This Gospel lesson defeats rationalism and reveals rationalism for what it is – poison.

By rationalism I mean subjecting the Bible to the limits of human reason. If something cannot be reasonable explained, then it is not true. For example, walking on water was a case of knowing where the sandbars were. That is an example rationalism being used to explain away a miracle.

The rationalism used against this passage is subtler, so it should be examined for what it is – and exposed.

The doors were locked for fear of the Jews, on Easter Sunday and this Sunday – both times. We know what many modern locks are like today, most of them poor excuses. Locked doors were much sturdier in Jesus’ time. Hewn lumber was placed across the door to prevent forced entry. Because the previous occupant was worried about an ex son-in-law, we have those and we also have chains for each of our doors.

Jesus appeared bodily, in spite of the locked doors.

Calvin, who founded the Presbyterians and influenced all the Protestant groups, including the Lutheran Pietists, explained Jesus’ appearance as coming through a secret entrance. That entrance was so secret that its existence was hidden from the apostle John (yet strangely revealed to Calvin 1600 years later).

That is a case of rationalism. Calvin did not believe that Jesus was able to be in that room bodily unless He had a secret entryway. Some other explanations are even more pathetic.

This explanation by Calvin reveals His faith in Christ – or lack of faith. Calvin imagined that Jesus’ divine nature was limited by His human nature. While God can be present everywhere, the Son of God is limited by His body with the scars still showing.

This same attitude is reflected in Calvin’s response to the Sacraments. He argued that Christ could not be bodily present in the element of Holy Communion. Calvin mocked the Real Presence in his Institutes, the most basic doctrinal documents of Calvinism.

Continuing the rationalism, Holy Communion could not forgive sins. Then what? It is an ordinance, a law commanded by God – to be a witness to faith in Christ. Some faith! “Given for the forgiveness of sin” – denied.

“This is My body. This is My blood.” – denied.

The room was locked – denied.

The Word is efficacious in Holy Communion – denied.

The Holy Spirit always works through the Word – denied.

What we believe about Christ is reflected in what we teach about Holy Communion. What we believe about Holy Communion is a reflection of our faith in Christ.

If Christ cannot enter a locked room, then He could not leave a sealed tomb. Therefore, we find Calvinistic paintings where the risen Lord seems to be escaping the tomb because angels have rolled away the stone lid (door) to the tomb. Thus the angels are more powerful than the Lord of Creation.

Rationalistic explanations have a corrosive effect on the Gospel itself. Soon the person who subjects the Gospel to his reason and experience will deny the divinity of Christ altogether. Many a young Calvinist turns into an old Unitarian.

The Pietists of today quickly turn into the social activists of tomorrow. Losing their trust in the Word, they trust in their ability to “redeem the world” by making it a better place. The environmentalists have discovered recycling, as if farmers did not do the same throughout time, especially in the Great Depression. Farmers did not save bailing wire and twine to save the planet. They just wanted to save their cash.

Faith
What does Jesus commend in people? Faith – child-like faith. No child has ever failed the doctrinal test about Jesus. All their answers are the same – “Because He is God.”

How did He walk on water?
How did He still the storm?
How did He raise the dead?
How did He turn water into wine?
How did He enter the locked room?

And I asked more than one child – Because He is God? What does that mean?

They all say, “God can do anything.”

That is the faith of a child, and it is a constant witness to adults.

The faith of a child does not emphasize self but glorifies God in the simplest possible words.

When I teach people about writing, I ask them to explain matters as they would to an 8-year-old child. I use that example because children know a lot at that age, but they remember their information with concrete examples.

The Bible is full of concrete examples so we can remember and trust in their message.

How can Jesus be present in Holy Communion?
He entered the locked room.
His two natures represent the finite body united with divine nature.

How can Jesus offer His body and blood to so many?
He fed the 5,000 with a few loaves and fish.

How can He forgive my sins with His Word?
He stilled the storm and turned water into wine.
He cured the sick and raised the dead with His Word.

Why is intellectual knowledge inadequate?
Jesus took children in His arms, blessed them and said, “Unless you have the faith of a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

Doubting Thomas – Rationalist
Thomas did not believe the Word of the apostles. He demanded physical proof of the resurrection.

He believed again when Jesus offered the proof earlier demanded. Thomas responded, not by the actual touching which he required before, but by giving his confession of faith, “My Lord and my God.”

Doubting Thomas was restored to faith by Christ and His Word. The disciples were given another chance to overcome their fear. According to tradition, Thomas traveled to India to preach the Gospel. History is never neat and tidy, but one province of India is Christian and they attribute their faith to Thomas. The church there is named after him.

Child-like Faith and Justification
Lawlessness is popular today, so much that it is often confused with the Gospel. The proper term is Antinomianism, which is hard enough to remember and to say on a good day. Lawlessness is an easy message, because everyone can do anything, because everything is already forgiven. Not surprisingly, a few years of lawlessness will turn people into atheistic do-gooders who imagine they can “redeem the world” and “make the world a better place” by their good intentions.

Justification by faith is that great mystery revealed by God in the Scriptures. It is the healing message for broken, contrite sinners. Those who have no concept of sin cannot understand it.

Feeling guilty is not the basis for being forgiven. There are many modern formulas for the old Catholic method of doing penance, as if doing penance earns forgiveness. The celebrity style today is to “accept responsibility” (as if we are not responsible) and to express a profound sense of sorrow, which seems to erupt only when someone is caught, videotaped, or arrested.

Some get misled into thinking that repentance means “change your ways,” as if man’s efforts earn forgiveness through good intentions, pledges, etc. The Greek word, so often battered by Greek 101 students, really means “regret” in its original state. But we have to translate in context rather than be mired down in the history of a word. (For instance, “neat” can mean tidy or it can be a positive response to some fact. A good pun would be – “I cleaned my room, finally.” The parent would say, “Neat!”)

The ancient Greeks knew all about regret, because they believed in an endless cycle of remorse from earlier deeds. They did not know about salvation through Christ until the Gospel was preached.
In the New Testament, that ancient word for regret came to mean – contrition for sin and faith in the Gospel.

One aspect of our human weakness is a lack of faith in forgiveness. People can believe in the articles of the Creed and yet think they are not forgiven by Christ. That is why so many helps are provided for us in the Scriptures.

Those who scoff at the Means of Grace fail to see how God builds up our faith in His Promises, through different means. Each one is called, by the Book of Concord, an instrument of God’s grace, a fine term to know and understand. Instrument may be a better, more concrete term that “means.”

Holy Communion is an individual participation in this forgiveness. We relive and remember the Last Supper of Christ, and in doing so, recall that He died for us sinners. We remember and re-enact that Last Supper while hearing the healing words of forgiveness. More than that, we participate as individuals so the words do not fly by our heads. Concentration on the Word is difficult, but when the Word is made visible in the Sacraments, that forgiveness is concrete and experienced. Christ is conveyed to us and we are conveyed to Him.

Similarly, when a child or adult is baptized, we remember the meaning of our own baptism.

Forgiveness and salvation do not depend on us but on God. He teaches us contrition with the Law and gives us forgiveness with the Gospel in many forms. Those forms include: the liturgy, the readings, the Creed itself, the hymns, the sermon, and the Sacraments. We have the absolution in the liturgy itself but also in our daily interaction with friends and family.

Christ appeared to the disciples to stir up their sense of sin, which manifested itself in their fear and hiding. In Thomas, it was his need for even more proof. Christ absolved the disciples, so they went from the greatest depths of despair to immovable faith in Him. After that, nothing could keep them from proclaiming His love and grace. They knew this grace. They experienced it. They extended it across the known world through the Instruments of Grace, the Word and Sacraments.

Quotations

"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing. His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith. For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355.

"This is going through closed doors, when He comes into the heart through the Word, not breaking nor displacing anything. For when the Word of God comes, it neither injures the conscience, nor deranges the understanding of the heart and the external senses; as the false teachers do who break all the doors and windows, breaking through like thieves, leaving nothing whole and undamaged, and perverting, falsifying and injuring all life, conscience, reason, and the senses. Christ does not do thus."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 355.

"Hence I send you into the world as my Father hath sent me; namely, that every Christian should instruct and teach his neighbor, that he may also come to Christ. By this, no power is delegated exclusively to popes and bishops, but all Christians are commanded to profess their faith publicly and also to lead others to believe."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe. And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office and the external Word."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves. For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved. He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 370.

"For the devil will not allow a Christian to have peace; therefore Christ must bestow it in a manner different from that in which the world has and gives, in that he quiets the heart and removes from within fear and terror, although without there remain contention and misfortune."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 380.

"Reformed theologians, in order to support their denial of the illocalis modus subsistendi of Christ's human nature, have sought, in their exposition of John 20, an opening in the closed doors, or a window, or an aperture in the roof or in the walls, in order to explain the possibility of Christ's appearance in the room where the disciples were assembled."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, II, p. 127.