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Sunday, September 1, 2013

For the rest of my life... a reminder.

A quote from Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3, page 143 [PNG]:
... this reminder bears constant repetition – we are here dealing with a matter which no Christian can ever finish learning in this life. The finding of the correct position over against the Reformed, Pietism, and the "experience theology" is indeed facilitated by the clarity of Holy Writ, but to cling to the true doctrine in practice is a difficult task. To take the right position in practice transcends the ability of man and is solely the gracious work of the Holy Ghost through the Word.  By our natural powers we are capable not only of opining that faith and regeneration are the immediate work of the Holy Spirit, but also of calling forth in ourselves moods and states which we may regard as the work of the Holy Ghost. But in true faith to cling to the external means of grace as sure "signs and testimonies" of the gracious will of God toward us, particularly when harassed with doubts, to cling with all our heart to the external Word of the Gospel against all our feelings and perceptions, against the condemnatory verdict of the Law and of our own conscience, that is something we can do only if the Holy Ghost works it and helps us suppress and mortify our flesh, to which Christ Crucified, that is, the Christ for us and outside us, is an offense and foolishness.
It is the objective Word, God's Word – the Bible, that is outside of us, that is the means through with the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit operates.  So when we are harassed with doubts, God especially had written His Scriptures so that we could go to them and overcome our doubts and so believe and not doubt. (Mark 11:23)

At times just repeating the words of John 3:16 to myself gives a lift to my Christian faith:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
That is what Luther did on his death bed – see page 177 here.  Luther depended solely on the external Word for his faith on his death bed.  May every reader of this blog, including me, do the same.

This teaching of Pieper was also covered in my usque ad nauseam blog post.  I will have enough material for this blog for the rest of my life — Pieper teaches that "no Christian can ever finish learning in this life".

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