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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Synodical Conference–1872, Part 14: The Keys; diamond in a ring; "precisely nothing"; metonymy

This continues the series of blog posts (Table of Contents is in Part 1) publishing my translation of the published essay from the inaugural meeting of the Synodical Conference in 1872.  This covers pages 64-66 of the original German essay (pages 20-68).  In this section, a quote from Luther on "The Keys" is concluded, Thesis 8 is concluded and Thesis 9 is discussed and Thesis 10 begins.
    The Lutheran Standard's English translation excludes a large section of Walther's quote from Luther on The Keys.  It occurred to me that their English translation might have been provided to the Ohio Synod, the publisher of the Lutheran Standard, by Prof. F.A. Schmidt himself as he translated Walther's work for them.  It could also have been translated by Matthias Loy – either one could have harbored doubts about Walther's powerful essay proclaiming universal justification, objective justification.  Unfortunately the Ohio Synod soon thereafter rejected the teaching of this essay (and on Election) and left the Synodical Conference.  They not only left the doctrine restored by Walther, but the doctrine of Luther's Reformation.
    On page [SCR 64], Prof. Marquart's translation seems weak saying:
Hereby the Apostle Paul testifies that faith is not, let us say, a condition, which must be fulfilled from our side, ...
This translation seems weak because this topic of "faith as a condition" is not just a topic among many topics, but strikes at the very heart of the gospel.  And so the German language allows me to translate as:
Thereby testifies the Apostle Paul that faith is not about a condition, which must be fulfilled from our side,...
Do you see the difference?  Now after Romans 4:16, we can read another passage in Romans and hear God's Word on the subject:
If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  Romans 11:6
Now we can "Taste and see that the Lord is good". (Psalm 34:8)
Part 14
===============  Synodical Conference–1872  ===============
"Over the Doctrine of Justification."
by C.F.W. Walther
(cont'd from Part 13)
[SCR 64] to himself quite unconcernedly, well, if the key hits the mark, it hits the mark, that man blasphemes God and denies Christ, tramples the keys underfoot, and is worse than a heathen, Turk, or Jew.  He also who is bound or loosed, blasphemes God, and denies Christ if he does not believe but doubts and despises what is done. For one ought and must believe God's Word with all seriousness and confidence. He who does not believe should leave the keys alone. He should rather dwell with Judas and Herod in hell, for God does not want to be reviled by our unbelief. It is truly not everybody's business to use the keys rightly.  [KM 38]  Again, he who believes or would gladly believe that the keys are doing their work effectively, let him rejoice and use them with confidence. The greatest honor you can bestow on God and his keys is to trust in them. It is for that reason we teach our people that he who is bound or loosed by means of the key, let him rather die ten deaths than doubt their efficacy. No greater dishonor can be done to God's Word and judgment than lack of faith in the same.  For this means as much as to say: God, you are a liar. It is not true what you say. I do not believe it.  Hence God must be a prevaricator.  He who binds and looses must be equally as certain, otherwise he is guilty of similar abominations.  But where has one ever taught or heard of such a thing under the papacy?  Indeed, if it had been taught, the wrong keys and their companions would never have come into being. And these two keys would have been the only ones and would have remained pure and unspotted.  How many bishops and their representatives use the keys in this fashion?  They do not believe the judgment of the keys is God's Word.  They are in the habit of treating them as if they were of an ancient, worldly origin.  But if they were to believe that it was the judgment of God in which they themselves should first of all have faith, at the risk of endangering their souls' salvation, they would not treat it so thoughtlessly but rather with fear and trembling (St. Louis Edition XIX p. 907–#8, 943-944–# 82, 946–948–#86-90; Walch XIX, 1126–#8, 1172–#82, 1175–#86-90; Luther's Works,  American Edition, vol. 40, pp. 328, 364, 366-369).
[LS XXXII/2, 11-1: Lutheran Standard- all text omitted from that point to this section from January 1, 1874, pg 11, col. 1; concluding portion]
Thesis 9: "The means, by which alone man comes into actual possession of the gift of grace acquired by Christ and proffered in Word and Sacrament, is faith, which believes the promise of grace of God and thus appropriates to itself the gift of the merits and righteousness of Christ presented in this promise of God, and consoles itself with the blessing of Christ as his Sin-canceler and Saviour."
For this purpose is the precious text of Rom. 4:16: "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed."[LS XXXII/2, 11-2]  Thereby testifies the Apostle Paul that faith is not about [KM-”let us say”- etwa] a condition, which must be fulfilled by our side if we should be partakers of the salvation which Christ has secured for us; no, he wants to say that when God calls us to faith, so he does not thereby say: My Son has done well enough for you and redeemed the world, but now also you must do something; on the contrary, it stands this way: Because we just have precisely nothing [SCR 65] more to do for our salvation, therefore faith is necessary;  if righteousness were admittedly not of grace, then something else would have to be required to obtain it; but now it is of grace, therefore faith is enough, because it is precisely an accepting. [KM paragraph]
If someone promises me something, or promises to give me something, what otherwise can I do than believe it?  Love helps nothing towards this, thinking about it does not help, also sanctification is no help; all this does not correspond to the nature of a free gift, namely that the same has come into my possession, but only so, that I accept it.  But this is [KM 39] just what faith is.  Here I hold as true this promise that God has given to me, me, me.  A woman came to see Dr. Luther with a great appeal saying that she could not believe that she would be saved, that she must be lost. There he let her recite the second article of the small catechism and then asked whether she could believe this?  And when she affirmed this, he let her go and said: So you believe this, so it stands well with you.  Whoever can indeed say this: "I believe in Jesus Christ . . . Who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil", there he has life and salvation.  [KM paragraph]
With this saying there is also repudiated the popish delusion, as if faith were a kind of virtue next to love and hope, and the enthusiastic (fanatical) delusion, as though faith as a change in the heart of man makes God pleased with man, so that for the sake of faith God had pleasure.  No, it is not faith which gives man value before God, but Christ, whom faith seizes.  It is as with a simple ring, in which a diamond is set.  From where now does it get its high value?  It lies not in the ring, but in the gem set in it.  So it is also with faith, which seizes Christ and thereby has a saving treasure in itself.  The Formula of Concord speaks of in such a way:
10] 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. 11] 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….
13] For faith justifies, not for this cause and reason that it is so good a work and so fair a virtue, but because it lays hold of and accepts the merit of Christ in the promise of the holy Gospel; for this must be applied and appropriated to us by faith, if we are to be justified thereby. 14] Therefore the righteousness which is imputed to faith or to the believer out of pure grace is the obedience, suffering, and resurrection of Christ, since He has made satisfaction for us to the Law, and paid for [expiated] our sins….
16] This righteousness [SCR 66] is offered us by the Holy Ghost through the Gospel and in the Sacraments, and is applied, appropriated, and received through faith, whence believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, the grace of God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life. (Formula of Concord, Thorough/Solid Declaration III-Righteousness of Faith, paragrs. 10-11, 13-14, 16; Triglotta pgs 918-921; Tappert, p. 541).
[KM -indent; LS paragraph]
The phrase "we are justified by faith" is a metonymic form of speech, that is, the thing containing is taken for the contents;   so it should be thereby said: We are justified by Christ which faith grasps.  As we say, "someone is satisfied by eating," and yet it is the food that satisfies him, not the eating, so say we to him who hungers spiritually: Would you be saved, so you must take what the Lord has offered you, but the taking does not still [KM 40] his soul, but the grace; so faith without Christ is worth nothing, and only faith in Christ is what makes righteous. [KM paragraph]
There is something further which will in our time need to be emphasized yet more, that also faith is a pure gift of the grace of God.  Man, says the Formula of Concord, behaves in his conversion mere passive, i.e. only suffering; he does nothing, but something is done to him, and only when the dear God has created faith in us, then he can start to participate.  But lately the Iowa Synod has openly expressed the doctrine that the final decision for salvation lies ultimately with man.  They say that it is certainly true that man is saved by grace, but that when God offers grace, then man can provisionally have so much grace that he can now cooperate and decide for himself.  By grace, they say, man's will is liberated to such an extent that he can freely decide for acceptance or rejection of grace, so that man is saved by the faithful use of the offered power of grace to him. According to reason we, of course, cannot determine otherwise than this: When some accept grace and others not, while all are in the same powerlessness and guilt, so must it be that the former are better because they decided to accept the gifts.  God's Word alone declares that the condemnation of guilt comes upon man by reason of his own self hardening, but in contrast faith is a free gift of God's grace, whereby man possesses the righteousness of Christ.
Thesis 10: "Faith in Christ makes righteous and saves, therefore not because as an excellent work of man, that it acquires a bountiful merit before God, and as satisfaction for sin reconciling God with men, but because it is, from man's side, the receiving hand, which really embraces and accepts the treasure of the merits of Christ and so of forgiveness, righteousness, and salvation, which are [LS XXXII/2, 11-3] offered and given in the promise of grace.  Neither does faith justify and save before God because God is willing, out of free grace and love, to let it account as a meritorious work of righteousness [SCR 67] and of obedience towards God's Word,...
= = = = = = concludes in Part 15 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    A diamond set in a simple ring –> Christ believed in the heart.  How wonderful Luther and Walther draw analogies of true faith.
    Thesis 10 begins what I would call the topic of "faith does not justify because of...".  This topic strikes down the error of synergism and false teaching on Conversion, a doctrine that Walther and Pieper had to battle against opposing American Lutherans all their lives.
    In the last Part 15...

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