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Friday, August 24, 2012

The cart and the horse... or the horse and the cart

There is a saying, a proverb, an idiom that says don't "put the cart before the horse", or as it is explained don't get things in the wrong order.  The horse pulls the cart... everybody knows the cart can't pull the horse.  It is the horse that has the horsepower to pull.  A cart is ... just a cart and has no power of its own.

I have used this picture in explaining the doctrines of Law and Gospel.

The world has it thus:
Do good works (the Law), then you'll get to heaven.
The Bible says this:
Believe the Good News (the Gospel), and you'll go to heaven.
Pretty simple, isn't it?  

Ah, but you and I are still in this world and even our own flesh screams within... 
Do Good Works!... (see God? ... see what I'm doing?)
The world steps in and confirms your inner being and says, Yes!  Do Good Works! now you're on the right track!

Now to add insult to injury, the Devil is not so crass, but is quite sly, for he will put on a religious mask and say:
Even the Bible says 'Good works are necessary' (Matthew 5:16)
What the Devil is implying is this: 
"Good works are necessary for salvation" 
and not only that, but this:
"Good works are necessary to retain salvation"
Ah, dear Devil, you are still the Devil for the Bible says neither of these 2 things.  Our Lutheran Confessions, and especially the Formula of Concord have struck you down.  Now go to your corner, you Devil!  The world may call everything but you as evil, but Christians know who you are for you want us to 
Put the cart before the horse! and think thus: 
  • Good works are necessary for salvation
  • Good works are necessary to retain salvation!
But the Bible only keeps the horse in front of the cart, keeps the Law in its place (Shows Our Sin), and keeps the Devil in his place by saying:
Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved
You want more evidence from the Bible?... that the Bible only keeps the horse before the cart?  Then read the account of the woman "taken in adultery", John 8:3-11.  The Pharisees and scribes called Jesus "Master", but what did the woman call Jesus?  Later, Jesus told her:
Go, and sin no more
Didn't Jesus put the cart before the horse?  But read what the woman called Jesus at the beginning of verse 11... it wasn't "Master" but:
She called Him - Lord... you are my Lord, you are the Messiah long foretold who would save us from our sin!  You are my Lord and Savior!  And so Jesus seeing her faith, said:
Go, and sin no more
You want real horsepower?  Pedal-to-metal horsepower?  Varoom!  Varoom!  Then sit at the foot of the cross and look up at the Savior who did it all, paid the full price with His precious blood... all for you.  Then do Him the honor by thanking and praising Him.  Read and ponder His Word to you.  Believe Him at His Word that says, "Thy sins be forgiven thee" (read Luther's Small Catechism - the Keys).  Then, and only then, can you pull a cart.  Otherwise, keep pushing your cart for the Devil.  Dear God!  How you have to keep pulling me from behind where I'm pushing my cart to put me back in front again – by Thy Word!  Keep me in Thy Precious Word!

Now go buy the book "The Formula of Concord – Core and Highlights" by C.F.W. Walther (read page 30) and throw the Devil back in his corner!

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