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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Justification – The Larry Darby Situation (Part 4b - a long letter)

This post Part 4b is a continuation of Part 4a, my last letter to Larry Darby in which I pour out all I had to try to convince Mr. Darby that his veiled attacks were exactly wrong (see Part 1 for Table of Contents):
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Another source for Luther's doctrines is from the book "What Luther Says" by Ewald Plass.  (1 volume version of 1994) Page 712, section 2223
To be sure, they {faith and works} never appear alone.  Justifying faith always produces good works, and good works are always the fruits of a faith that justifies.  But works never justify, Luther affirms in exposition of Gal. 5:16 (1531).
2223 Men Are Not Justified Because They Are Sanctified
Covered and protected by this umbrella, the heaven of the forgiveness of sins and the throne of grace, we begin to love and to fulfill the Law.  But because of this fulfillment we are not justified or accepted by God while we live here below.
See footnote 13:  In notes (1530) by Luther on a proposed work on justification there is this statement: "If we are justified because of the works that flow from faith, then we are not justified by faith itself or because of Christ but because of ourselves, because we perform works after we come to faith.  This is denying Christ"
Page 713, section 2226: So Abraham was justified, Luther points out in his lectures on Gen. 15:6.
2226 Abraham Was Justified by Faith
... Here no reference is made to any preparation for grace, to any faith that had "received its form" by works, or to any preceding ability.  But reference is made to the fact that at the time Abraham was in the midst of sins, doubtings, and tremblings, that his soul was very deeply disturbed.  How, then, did he acquire righteousness?  Only in this way that God spoke, and Abraham believed what He said.  But to this end the Holy Spirit comes, a Witness worthy of credence, and affirms that this very believing or this very faith is righteousness or is imputed by God for righteousness and is considered as righteousness by Him.
Page 709, section 2215
In a New Year sermon of 1522 on Gal. 3:23-29 Luther strongly emphasizes the fact that the nonimputation of guilt to the sinner is not rooted in the sovereignty of God but is based on the vicarious atonement of Christ.
2215 Christ's Righteousness Must Be Imputed
.... Since, therefore, this was impossible for us, God ordained for us, in our stead, One who took upon Himself all the punishment which we had deserved and fulfilled the Law for us; thus He averted the judgment of God from us and appeased His wrath.  Grace, therefore, is indeed given us gratuitously.
Page 1418, section 4566
In the opening words of his exposition of Psalms 22 Luther refers to what our subject heading was designed to express.
4566 What "Vicarious Satisfaction" Is
In His Passion Christ actually (utique) assumed or took upon Himself the sins of all men.
Page 1420, section 4575
4575 "The Lord Laid on Him the Iniquity of Us All" (Isaiah 53:6)
Isaiah says (53:6): The Father laid on His shoulders the sins of all men, no one in the world excepted.
Page 1421, section 4577
"The Lamb of God...Taketh Away the Sin of the World" (John 1:29)
Christ is the Person who carries on His body, and has burdened Himself with, all the sins of all the people of all the world, with the sins of all who have ever lived, live now, and are yet to live.  Not as if He had committed these sins Himself, but that He took them from us, who had committed them, in order to atone for them with His own blood.
Page 1426, section 4590
This astounding fact {our sins are not our own in justification} lies at the very center of the Christian religion, says the Doctor a few paragraphs earlier.
4590 Here Beats the Heart of Christianity
The expressions "of us all" and "on Him" must be carefully noted, for this is the chief article.  We must believe the prophecy that our sins are not our own but have been laid on Christ.  This one article is the foundation of the church and of Christianity.  If it remains intact, no heresies can harm us.
Page 1426, section 4591
Therefore Luther can make the following sweeping statement in his sermon study on Matt. 2:1-12
4591 The Basic Christian Belief
No repentance, no satisfaction for sin, are of any avail; there is no attaining grace, no salvation, except by simply believing in Christ, believing that He alone has rendered satisfaction for our sin, has gained grace and saved us....
Page 1427, section 4595
God be praised for this marvelous redemption - praised and glorified here in time and hereafter throughout eternity.  Such thought fill Luther's soul as he reflects on the wonders of this substitutionary atonement in his exposition of John 1:29 on Nov 3, 1537.
4595 "To God, Our Savior, Be Glory... Both Now and Ever.  Amen" (Jude 25)
This truth should certainly be worthy to be sung, preached, and spoken about constantly; and we certainly ought to love and praise God in recognition of such a blessing as this.... For what is it?  The Son of God becomes my Servant and humbles Himself so deeply that He actually takes my misery and sin, nay, the sin and death of all the world, upon His shoulders, takes them away, and says to me: You are no longer a sinner.  But I am.  I step into your place.  You did not sin.  But I did.  all the world is in sin.  But you are not in sin.  I am.  All your sins are to lie on Me and not on you.  No one can comprehend this. We shall be eternally blessed in yonder life by contemplating this love of God.... Indeed, who is able to be sufficiently thankful to our Lord God for this grace?
Am I to believe that the English translation by Plass is distorted also?   How many more translations should I question?  As long as the translation offers the doctrine of universal grace?
And what about the Lutheran Confessions?  Triglotta, Page 1071, Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration XI:
"Therefore, if we wish to consider our eternal election to salvation with profit, we must in every way hold sturdily and firmly to this, that, as the preaching of repentance, so also the promise of the Gospel is universalis (universal), that is, it pertains to all men, Luke 24:47.  For this reason Christ has commanded that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among ALL nations.  For God loved the WORLD and gave His Son, John 3:16.  Christ bore the sins of the WORLD, John 1:29, gave His flesh for the life of the WORLD, John 6,51; His blood is the propitiation for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD, 1 John 1:7; 2:2.  Christ says: "Come unto Me, ALL ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rests, Matt. 11:28.  God hath concluded them ALL in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon ALL, Romans 11:32.  The Lord is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9.  The same Lord over all is rich unto ALL that call upon Him, Romans 10:12.  The righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto ALL and upon ALL them that believe, Romans 3:22.  This is the will of Him that sent Me, that EVERY ONE that seeth the Son and believeth on Him may have everlasting life,
But let us go on to further clear passages of Scripture not already quoted above:
Ezekiel 33:11 - Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
John 4:42  And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard [him] ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
1 John 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.
Matthew 25:24-26  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, [there] thou hast [that is] thine.  His lord answered and said unto him, [Thou] wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
John 5:39 -Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
John 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.
2 Corinthians 3:6 - Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Jesus said:  "I am the way, the truth, and the life".  Larry Darby, there is no truth, no beauty, no rest, no peace, no joy, no life apart from His work of perfect redemption.  All else darkens and becomes pale without this glorious beauty, the shining gem of God's work.  In Genesis 22:14 we read "...In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen."  On Calvary is the beginning of truth, beauty, rest, peace, joy, life.  All other doctrines
point to Calvary.
The teaching that would rob the doctrine of universal grace is against F. Pieper, Walther, the Lutheran Confessions, Luther, and the Scriptures- I will gladly take their "theological constructions".  The teaching against universal grace is at war with Christianity and is therefore not Lutheran.  It is not the gist of Christianity.  What good is memorizing multitudes of Bible verses if the central doctrine is not grasped?  What good is textus receptus if the doctrine of justification is blurred?  What good is it to hold to the biblical doctrine of women in the church if faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins is put into question?  What good is the doctrine of Scripture if the central doctrine of justification is attacked?  What good are missions if the good news is turned sour?  What good are the doctrines of creation and geocentricity if the Creator/Redeemer is spurned in His greatest work?  What good is the doctrine that the papacy is the very anti-Christ if the true Christ is not understood as the Saviour of the world?  What good is the warning against psychology in the church if it can't be refuted with God's true wisdom - Christ Crucified for the sins of the world (foolishness to man)?
Larry Darby- this is not a hidden thing.  My first letter to you mentioned the doctrine of universal justification.  You did not attack it then.  At least Mr. David Hartman was honest in his direct attack on Pieper's Dogmatics- he did not claim there was any false translation.  Your August 23, 1994 letter to me recommended F. Pieper's Christian Dogmatics (I am reading it now, taking several months to get through it because it builds my faith so much) and Becker's "Foolishness of God" (which I read last year and was so joyful over the rich teaching).  Now you want to tear down the Scriptural teachings of these two???  I took your advice on Pieper.  Now I give the counsel back to you- read Pieper's Dogmatics to build your faith in the Saviour.
The false teacher to the Galations would say the same things to Paul as you have to me in your last letter.  He too would say to Paul that he had made up a "theological construction".  I will repeat my former confession to you:
If Jesus didn't die for the sins of the whole world, then I am going to hell.
Luther says it like this:
"When the article of justification has fallen, everything has fallen." What Luther Says, #2232,pg 715
Paul stated it thus:
Gal. 1:8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
1 Peter 1:24-25  For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
By the way, here's another set of verses you can use against Scripture as you did with John 17:9, 20.  It's the one the Calvinist Baptist minister used against universal grace with me.  See John 10: 15, 26.  If Jesus died for his sheep, and not everyone is a sheep – there you have it!  But just look down and see Luther's answer in verse John10:35: "and the scripture cannot be broken".
My prayer is that the apparent love for Scripture will lead you back to the true doctrine.
Doctrine is heaven, life is earth. - Martin Luther
[Signed] Xxx Xxx [BackToLuther]
Sadly, further correspondence from Mr. Darby in the 1990s showed a hardening in his unbelief.  In my next post Part 5, I am publishing a file I made of my thoughts at this time which showed God was working in me a faith that I do not deserve...  how could I, one who had rejected my Lord Jesus, give me this assurance of salvation so firmly?

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