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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LDJ–1859/1880-Part 8 (pages 21-23)—Bible opened; pure doctrine of justification

This continues from the previous Part 7 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 8, Walther finishes his section § 3 and includes this quote from Luther as he was enlightened by the Holy Spirit:
...justified before God through faith... There for me opened all of Holy Scriptures and also heaven itself.
Luther here speaks like the Apology to the Augsburg Confession where it says "Article IV (II): Of Justification":
...the chief topic of Christian doctrine ... which, understood aright, illumines and amplifies the honor of Christ [which is of especial service for the clear, correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, and alone shows the way to the unspeakable treasure and right knowledge of Christ, and alone opens the door to the entire Bible]...
Walther then begins section § 4 and again brings magnificent quotes from... Martin Luther.

Endnotes beginning on page 73 (A thru W) will eventually be hyperlinked back to the original section that they refer to.
Underlining follows Walther's emphasis in original.
Hypertext links have been copiously added for reference to original sources and on several subjects.
Highlighting is mine.
= = = = = = = = = = = =  Part 8: Pages 21-23 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 7)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-21]....   “I worked hard and fearfully to understand how I should understand Paul’s statement in Rom. 1:17, as he says: ‘The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel.’  There for a long time I sought and knocked at [see Matt. 7:7] that statement, trying to comprehend it, for the phrase ‘the righteousness of God’ was a stumbling block to me.  It was usually interpreted in this way: The righteousness of God is a virtue whereby He is holy in Himself and condemns sinners.  Also all the doctors of theology had explained this passage in such a way, excepting Augustine, that they said: ‘The righteousness of God is the wrath of God.’ But so often as I read the passage, [W1859-22] I always wished that God had never revealed the Gospel. After all,  who could love a God who is angry, judges, and condemns?  Until finally, by illumination of the Holy Spirit, I considered more carefully the passage of the prophet Habakkuk 2:4: ‘The just shall live by his faith.’  From this I extracted and concluded that life must come from faith, and thus pulled the abstractum into the concretum (as one calls in the schools), that is, I related the word ‘righteousness’ to the word ‘just’, namely that man would be justified before God through faith, etc. There for me opened all of Holy Scriptures and also heaven itself.” (Walch W1 II, 467-469. paragrs. XXX-183; StL Ed. 2, cols 320-321, paragrs 181-183; [cf. Am. Ed. 5, 157-158])
From that time forward Luther underwent a major [Essays1-37] change that he also describes thus in the introduction to his commentary on Galatians:  “In my heart reigns alone and shall also prevail this article, namely faith in my dear Lord Christ, who is the only beginning, middle, and end of all the spiritual and godly thoughts I may have day and night.” (VIII, 1524)
When, therefore, after presentation of the Augsburg Confession in 1530, and the Evangelical Lutherans were [1880-22] menaced by an imperial Recess, Luther wrote a so-called Comment on the Supposed Imperial Edict, wherein he, among other things, makes the following confession: “Because I see that the devil must always blaspheme this chief article through his swinish teachers, and cannot rest or cease, therefore I, Dr. Martin Luther, unworthy evangelist of our Lord Jesus Christ, declare that this article: that faith alone, without all works, makes just before God — should let stand and remain the Roman emperor, the Turkish emperor, the emperor of the Tartars, the Persian emperor, the pope, all cardinals, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, kings, princes, lords, all the world, including all the devils; and shall the fires of hell descend on their heads and they shall have no thanks for it.  That is my, Dr. Luther’s, inspiration from the Holy Spirit and [is] the true, holy Gospel.  There stands the article which the children pray: ‘I believe in Jesus Christ, crucified, died,’ etc. It is indeed that no one died for our sins except Jesus Christ, God’s Son. once again I say, only Jesus, God’s Son, has redeemed us from sin; that is most certainly true and is the whole of Scripture; and should all devils and the whole world were to tear themselves to pieces and explode, it still remains true.  But if it is He alone who takes away sin, so we certainly cannot be the ones doing it by our works. Thus it is impossible that I could cling to this one and only Savior from sin or come to Him except through faith and it remains that with works He is and remains beyond grasp. Since faith alone, before any works follow it, can lay hold of such a Redeemer, so must it be true that it is only faith, before and without any works, that is capable of laying hold of such redemption, which can be nothing else but become just/righteous.  For being redeemed from sin, or having sin forgiven, can be nothing else than being or becoming just [or righteous], etc. But after such faith or reception of salvation from sin, and forgiveness or righteousness, thereupon will follow good works as the fruits of such faith. That is our doctrine [1880-23] and also [W1859-23] is what teaches the Holy Spirit and all of holy Christendom, thereby we remain in God’s name. Amen!” (Walch W1 XVI, cols. 2046-2048, paragr. 47-48; StL Ed. , col. 1688-1689, paragr. 47-48;  [cf. Am. Ed. 34, 91]) [Endnote C]
§ 4
Luther already complained that in his day only a few thoroughly understood and taught the pure doctrine of justification, that many had become weary of it, and that therefore this doctrine would be obscured and lost after his death.
So he wrote in the year 1525 in a sermon on St. John’s day:  “We who cleave to Christ, who have based our confidence on this Rock alone, know that the Word is not to be considered unimportant nor to be discarded; as we, alas! however see how even now there are so few who cling to and remain with the pure Word. How many there are who want to write books, under which barely three or four maintain God’s Word in its purity! *)  It decays among them, and the sects spring up, the Word becomes contaminated and so fully darkened that we hardly recognize it;  so few of them keep it in its purity even among those who imagine that they have grasped it well and are standing firmly; but before one looks around, so they lie in mud up to their ears. ‘Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall’ (1 Cor. 10:12), for the treasure is too priceless and is entrusted to but a few.” (Walch W1 Xl, 3023, paragr. 7; StL Ed. 11, cols. 2270-2271, paragr. 7; not in Am. Ed.)
So writes Luther also in 1535 on Gal. 3:19:  “Here I plead with and admonish all who love godliness and especially those who should teach others, that they this article, which teaches what the proper and distinctive work of the Law rightly is and
*) In 1539, Luther declared the three, Rhegius, Brenz and Amsdorf, the "highest and foremost theologians" of his time. (Walch W1 XXII, 2235; StL Ed. 22, 1527 “On Wittenberg University”; [cf. Am. Ed. 54, #5126, pg 391])

[1880-24] is its own work, and how one should properly applied it, as St. Paul’s epistles well teach with all diligence.

= = = = = cont'd in next Part 9 = = = = = = = 
Note to Prof. Roland Ziegler: did you notice above that Martin Luther's use of the Bible verse 1 Cor. 10:12 (in a sermon of 1525 on St. John’s day) is the same verse you used in your essay praising Walther's theology? (here)  May you continue to look up to Luther and Walther... and may you also add Franz Pieper and his Brief Statement to these.  With these you will find "the pure doctrine of justification".

In the next Part 9...

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