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Friday, March 2, 2012

Quotes of C.F.W. Walther on Doctrine of Justification (Part 3)

See Part 1 and Part 2 for previous quotes and source material.
6. Univeral Redemption:
page 75: This teaching is without doubt the crowning glory of all Christian doctrine...the Christian religion on the contrary teaches not only how people eventually shall be eternally saved, but that they are already saved.
page 75: Everything has already been done; you are already redeemed; you have already been made righteous before God; you have already been saved.  You therefore do not have to do anything to redeem yourself; you do not have to reconcile God to yourself; you do not have to earn your salvation.  Only believe that Christ, the Son of God, has done all this in your stead;.
page 76: We Lutherans, on the other hand, teach, as was stated: The entire world is already redeemed through Christ; the entire work of redemption is already accomplished.. . . Formula of Concord: “In his purpose and counsel God has ordained . . . that through Christ the human race has truly been redeemed and reconciled with God...
page 77: One dare never say to people: “You are saved provided you have faith”; rather the reverse: “Because Christ has redeemed you, therefore you now believe that you are saved.”  A person does not believe he will come into an inheritance because of a future promise, but only when the promise has been assuredly given.
page 78: I should believe that my sins are forgiven because they have been forgiven me in Christ.
page 78: Luther continues: “Hence this is the benefit of Christ’s suffering and resurrection, that He did not do this for Himself but for the entire world,...
page 79: But thereby they show that they do not actually believe that Christ has really and truly, through His suffering and death on the cross, redeemed the entire world and reconciled it with God.
page 79: “Really,” says the enthusiast, “I can’t believe that God would give such wondrous gifts through such common, ugly means.”  Let this serve as a reply: “This stems from the fact that you are lacking the faith that Christ has earned forgiveness of sins and God’s grace for all people;...
page 88: No, the chief function, the real assignment, is that the preacher come as God’s messenger and say: “Dear people, rejoice, you are saved; are you not aware of this?  I come to you as a messenger of God to bring you this good news: God is reconciled with you!”

7. Faith is not:
Page 76: Hence, this is not Lutheran teaching: that Christ by His fulfillment of the Law, by His suffering, death, and resurrection, has been instrumental in moving God to regard faith as something so extraordinary and superior that because of it He is reconciled with man.  Rather, the Lutheran Church teaches: All, yes everything necessary for reconciliation and redemption has been accomplished through Christ.
page 78: The enthusiasts claim: Faith is the means of being saved, because through it one acquires a new heart, becomes holy and pious... But faith, as a work of man or for the sake of its good attributes and results, cannot be credited with the distinction of accomplishing salvation and redemption; . . . Therefore it is dreadful when sectarians claim: I possess all this, provided I take some responsibility for bringing it to pass....
page 105: It is said that man must also do something in justification, namely believe.  Under such circumstances justification is not attributed solely to God.  But that means nothing else than robbing God of part of His honor and ascribing it to man.  Then it would not be God alone who saves us, but we would work together.  Only those who cannot distinguish sharply between condition and means can conceive such a thought.  A condition demands a performance on the part of the person who is to receive something.  For example: “I’ll give you the horse with the condition that you pay me so much for it.”  With the meeting of the condition the other promises performance in return.  Faith would then be an accomplishment on our part for which God would give us salvation in return.  But this is false.
page 106: Faith is not a condition to be met under which God will then give to us, but He has already given.
page 106: Therefore when Scripture says we are justified by faith, basically nothing is said but this, that we are saved by grace, as the apostle writes in Romans 4:16 -- not that faith is an acceptable good work.
page 107: ... But the expression: “If we believe, we will be saved” is never used in the Scriptures in the sense that it indicates a condition.  Neither does it say “because of faith” but “through faith by grace.”  A teacher must be very cautious not to use wrong words in presenting this doctrine, words which cloud its meaning.
page 107: How does Heerbrand answer our question?  In this way: Faith is not a condition, nor is it demanded as a condition; justification is not promised or offered either because of worthiness or meritoriousness or even insofar as it is a work.. . . If faith were a condition under which God justifies us, then there would have to be some worthiness or meritoriousness in faith, or it would have to be such a [grand] work that God would have to accept it.  But that is commingling of several concepts.  Does a hand merit anything because it seizes a present?
page 108: As much as all Christian groups speak of faith, only a minority have a correct conception of faith and how it justifies.  They think of faith as a special quality in man.  [They claim that] man has been changed, so that now there is something good in him, because of which God now considers him justified.
page 109: And since God Himself works faith, it cannot be the cause nor the condition but only the means of justification.
page 109: ...Carpzov speaks on this point: “It is not accurate if one calls faith the instrumental cause of justification.”
page 109: Faith is not itself a work, but only an instrument.  We are to contribute nothing because we can contribute nothing, not even faith.  If justification depended on the perfection of our faith, then we would all be lost.
page 110: If faith were a virtue, there would have been enough lacking in Paul’s faith to condemn him to hell.  What is true of unbelief is not true of faith.  Unbelief is the cause of damnation, but faith is not the cause of salvation.
In my next post Part 4, I will continue Walther's quotes on what Faith Is...

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