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Thursday, April 3, 2014

LDJ–1859/1880-Part 11 (pages 30-32)—"unbearable burden" of Law vs. yoke of Christ; Cart before horse?

This continues from the previous Part 10 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 11, Walther continues quoting from the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent and inserts footnotes containing quotes from Luther and the Lutheran Confessions in reply.  There is much spiritual food in these extensive footnotes...  and please note I have added many red lettered markers to guide the reader from page to page, from the body text or footnote to the body text or continuation of footnote on the next page.  I have also now added hyperlinking to the original 1880 pages, i.e. [1880-30].

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 11: Pages 30-32 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 10)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-30] …  no one should use that rash statement, once forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God does not command impossibilities, but by the commanding admonishes thee to do what thou canst and to pray for what thou canst not, and aids thee that thou mayest be able. ‘His commandments are not heavy, and his yoke is sweet and burden light’ [Matt. 11:30].” (Schroeder, pp. 36-37)  (*)  —  “Those who through sin have forfeited the received grace of justification, can again be justified when, moved by God, they exert themselves to obtain through the sacrament of penance the recovery, by the merits of Christ, of the grace lost. For this manner of justification is restoration for those fallen, which the holy Fathers have aptly called a second plank after the shipwreck of grace lost.” (Schroeder, p. 39)  (†)  
*)  Luther says on the passage Matt. 11:30:  “The truth is that in itself the Law is an unbearable burden, as Peter says in Acts 15:10.  For the Law requires such things which the natural man could not hold to nor fulfill, and so it multiplies sin; then it condemns those sins and so threatens us with death. Therefore the law has an office [Essays1-40] of sin and death (2 Cor. 3:9).  But the yoke of Christ is an encouragement to take up the cross that thereby the old man should be put to death. But the cross is light when the burden of the Law has been removed, i.e., sin and death ....  Those greatly err who interpret this yoke of Christ to mean the evangelical Law, i.e., the Commandments, insofar as they are given by Christ, ... .O what blindness! It is well prepared for those people who because of disdain do not want to read the Gospel. They should have taught instead how wonderful the power of Christ is in His saints, that through faith in the hearts of men, it transforms death into a laughter, punishment into a joy, hell into a heaven.  For those who believe in Him, they ridicule and despise all these evils which the world and the flesh flee in horror and aversion. That Christ calls a sweet yoke and a light load, that is, to carry the cross with joy, even as St. Paul says: ‘We glory in tribulations’ – Rom. 5:3.” (Walch W1 VII, 213-214,, paragrs. 58-59; StL Ed. 7, 142-143, paragrs. 58-59; not in Am. Ed.)  [Endnote F]
†) About this writes Luther in his book The Babylonian Captivity of the Church:  “Although the devil was unable to destroy the power of Baptism in children, he nevertheless did get the upper hand by destroying its power in all adults, so that hardly anyone remembers that he has been baptized, let alone ... (cont’d on [1880-31] footnote)

[1880-31]  “For on behalf of those who fall into sins after baptism, Christ Jesus instituted the sacrament of penance when He said: ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost, whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.’ Hence, it must be taught that the repentance of a Christian after his fall is very different from that at his baptism, and that it includes not only a determination to avoid sins and a hatred of them, or ‘a contrite and humble heart,’ but also the sacramental confession of those sins, at least in desire, to be made in [W1859-28] its season, and sacerdotal absolution, as well as satisfaction by fasts, alms, prayers and other devout exercises of the spiritual life, not indeed for the eternal punishment, which is, together with the guilt, remitted either by the sacrament or by the desire of the sacrament, but for the temporal punishment which, as the sacred writings teach, is not always wholly remitted, as is done In baptism, to those who, ungrateful to the grace of God which they have received, have grieved the Holy Ghost.” (Schroeder, p. 39)  (*) “It must be ...
[footnote cont’d from 1880-30 footnote]  … glories in it, after so many other works have been invented for the remission of sins and entry into heaven. To this opinion have they been What led them to this opinion is a dangerous speech by Jerome, which was either an unfortunate statement or was badly interpreted, namely, that he called repentance the second plank after shipwreck. Just as if repentance were no repentance. That is why, having fallen into sin, people despair of the first plank or ship, as if they had lost it, and begin to rely on and try to save themselves only with the second plank, namely penance. That is the source of the countless burdens of vows, clerical ranks, works, satisfactions, pilgrimages, indulgences, and sects, their innumerable books, questions, opinions, and man-made laws which no one in the world can now understand. This tyranny plagues the church of God far worse than the Jewish synagogue or other individual nations under heaven ever plagued it. But the bishops should have abolished all this and diligently directed the people only to Baptism, so they would understand what they are and what Christians must do. But their only concern now is to lead people far away from Baptism and to plunge them into the flood of their own tyranny.” (Walch W1 XIX, 65-66, paragrs. ; StL Ed. 19,  [cf. Am. Ed. 36, 57-58 f.])  [Endnote G]
*) The Apology [of the Augsburg Confession, XII, 13] says hereof: “The third part of this play is the Satisfactio or satisfaction for sins. Here their teachings … (cont’d on [1880-32] footnote)

[1880-32] … maintained that the grace of justification once received is lost not only by infidelity, whereby also faith itself is lost, but also by every other mortal sin, though in this case faith is not lost; thus defending the teaching of the divine law which excludes from the kingdom of God not only unbelievers, but also the faithful (who are) ‘fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liers with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners,’ and all others who commit deadly sins.” (Schroeder, p. 40)  (*)  “Hence, to those who work well ‘unto the end’ and trust in God, eternal life is to be offered, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, and as a reward promised by God Himself, to be faithfully given to their good works and merits. ..... We must believe that nothing further is wanting to those justified to prevent them from being considered to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of ...
[footnote cont’d from 1880-31 footnote] … are still clumsy, confused, cast hudreds into thousands, so that not a tiny drop of good or necessary comfort can be found for a poor conscience. For there they trump-up for themselves that for God eternal punishment is commuted to the punishment of purgatory, and that a part of the punishment is forgiven and remitted through the office of the keys, but that a part is to be redeemed by means of satisfaction by works.” [From the German text of the Apology to the Augsburg Confession, XII, 13; cf. Triglotta, pg 256-257; Tappert, p. 184]  [Endnote H]
*)  Luther writes on 1 Peter 1:5: “When God creates faith in man, this is as great a work as if He had created heaven and earth again. Therefore those fools don’t know what they’re saying when they declare: ‘Ah, how can faith alone do it, however it does no good work?’ They imagine their own dreams to be faith and that faith can well exist without good works. But we also say as Peter declares: That faith is a power of God.  Where God works faith, there the man must be born again [Essays1-41] and has become a new creature; then such faith naturally must be followed by nothing but good works. … Therefore one must not say to a Christian who believes: ‘Do this or that work’; because he does good works by himself and unbidden, he will do nothing but good works.  But one must say to him to not deceive himself with a false, fictitious faith. Therefore let go the “rag washers” (Lumpenwäscher) who talk loudly about it but say nothing but foam and useless babble. (Walch W1 IX, 643-644, paragrs. 22-23; StL Ed. 9, 972, paragrs. 22-23; [cf. Am. Ed. 30, 14f.])  [Endnote I]
[1880-33]  ...this life and to have truly merited eternal life.” (Schroeder, p. 41)

= = = = = cont'd in next Part 12 = = = = = = = 
In the last footnote, Luther is quoted as saying:
Therefore one must not say to a Christian who believes: ‘Do this or that work’; because he does good works by himself and unbidden, he will do nothing but good works.
This shows the heart of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.  So many today think they know it but then only speak about "doing God's will"... i.e. "Do this or that work".  Where these theologians fall is in thinking that teaching a harsher Law (so that the Law is not minimized) is the answer to false teaching.  They think that the teaching of "Universal, Objective Justification" should be limited so that believers don't become too secure.  That is exactly the same charge as the papists had against Luther's preaching of the pure Gospel!  False teaching rather follows when Law and Gospel are not properly distinguished.  Some time ago I blogged about faith and works and illustrated it with the "Cart and the Horse".  This is a good illustration and I found some images to portray what Luther (and Walther) taught:

Faith  ––  and  –– Works
Works without faith
In the left image we see the proper arrangement... the horse (i.e. Faith) has the power to pull the cart (Good Works).  And so the horse needs to be fed to continue pulling the cart... i.e. the power of the Gospel continues to feed our faith so that we are enabled and have the power to do truly good works in the sight of God.  In the right image, we see the world's works, works without faith... dead works.  You could tell that dead cart: ‘Do this or that work!’ or 'Do Good Works!' ... but it could not budge an inch...  it has no horsepower (i.e. it does not believe the Gospel, no Faith).

In the next Part 12...

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