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Monday, June 30, 2014

LDJ–Pt 27(p 78-80)—Medical? Feelings? 3rd Use Law; Judicial action

     This continues from the previous Part 26 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 27, Endnotes [E], [F], [G], and [H] are covered.
     How well Walther distinguishes The Lutheran Difference from the papists in general, Jesuits, Enthusiasts, etc.  I am reminded of the sect called the "Shakers", a group known in part by their woodworking.  But their name speaks volumes about them, doesn't it?  Could it indicate their "enthusiasm" in their "spirit", a "spirit" quite apart from the Holy Spirit?  Walther speaks of how they rely on their "shaky feelings" instead of the "eternally constant Word".  Even though the world would call them "Protestants", they weren't. They (along with Methodism) are Enthusiasts.
     There is a great concern in today's Lutheranism that the real problem in today's church could be solved by the Third Use of the Law.  Essays and papers are given on this subject, but Walther points us to the best teacher there is on the subject — Martin Luther.  If a theologian cannot proclaim the pure Gospel properly distinguished from the Law, then he knows absolutely nothing of the Third Use.
    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 27: Pages 78-80 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 26)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-78] [W1859-55]  
[E] The most simple-minded Christian will readily recognize the voice of the Antichrist in the main symbol of papists, in the decisions of the Council of Trent, when here no justification is recognized that consists only in forgiveness of the sinner by imputation of the merit of Christ, but only such an imaginary justification as supposedly consists in the fact that one has a new heart, is devout, and has love and good works.  So teaches the papal church still teaches at the present day.  Because although a Jesuit may now also say [Essays1-57] that one is justified by grace alone, so this means to him nothing else as that  Christ is the cause that man can become virtuous.  He preaches thereby basically nothing more than the old pagan doctrine.  Thereafter justification would not be a judicial action, after which God sees the poor sinner, for Christ's sake, as has he no sin; but rather a medical action, after which God works over man’s heart, senses, and mind for the treatment.  Since justification in the latter sense should happen according to the measure of one’s own acquired holiness, so certainly can no one thereby become sure of his state of grace, whereas by the pure doctrine no measurement is spoken of, rather God makes us all equally holy and just by imputation of the merit that Christ won for us.  — Here one can rightly see how the Enthusiasts are basically as much like the papists as one egg is like the other, in which only their way of speaking is different.  Enthusiasts comfort no sinner if he does not first say that his heart has been changed.  For them the sanctification comes from the justification just so little as the papist, but it is to them the same reason.  If the Spirit of God is not also there where they prevail, prove faithful and finally yet lead at least a few to Christ, so there could not one soul be saved.  
Indeed he sects differ from the papists in that they want to be certain of their state of grace: however hereby they come here again entirely back to the [1880-79] papistic principle of justification, since they do not base their certainty on the eternally constant Word, but on their own shaky feelings, wherefore they are either hypocrites or often must complain that they have lost Christ.  Hence also their efforts by all sorts of means excite their feelings their emotions and that the cheerful today boasts often one or the other of his conversion, and yet so soon without comfort must step up again to the mourners’ bench.  As no heathen attains the Holy Spirit except through God’s Word, so also all who really have Him, originally obtained Him only through the Word;  to separate Him from it and rely on having the Holy Spirit without the Word is extremely sad and means nothing otherwise than the testimony of the Spirit lost again.
[F] Also therein are the Methodists, etc., like the papists in that they say that the justified can keep the commandments of God.  If the pertinent remarks of the Council of Trent were presented to them, without them knowing where they came from, they would declare them to be pure doctrine.  The only difference is that the papists are better than they at supporting this false doctrine with spurious reasons.  But, of course, only with spurious reasons.  Since when they say that God demands of us nothing that we cannot perform, indeed that he has no right to do this, it is indeed true that he demands nothing but what we could do if we had kept [W1859-56] what he gave us at Creation;  but now, after we have fallen, should God have less right herein than a creditor who confronts debtors with his demands though he probably already knows well that they are unable to pay — merely to remind them of their debt and bring them to a confession of it?  Just so false is their proof from Matt. 11:30, because here the yoke and the burden, as Luther also proves, are not the Law, but the cross of the believers.  To the Christian as a Christian, to be sure, also [1880-80] the Law is light, not only so far as Christ has fulfilled it for him, but also because his own whole life is a fulfilling of the Law, flowing unbidden from faith: but so far as the Christian still has his flesh, the Law remains for him an unbearable burden. Love is the fulfilling of the Law [Romans 13:10]; but we indeed find within us no perfect love, rather at most drops of it.  Christ, as Christ and as Savior, does not lay on us the Law: he is not a lawgiver, but only an interpreter of it, and that also not after his true office, but rather  — as indeed also Moses goes on in his prophecy of Christ — performing, as it were, a function not really His own. — That he meanwhile does so interpret the Law, provides us with a splendid proof for the third use of the Law, according to which it should be a rule for the lives of the children of God.
[G] A further likeness of the Methodists and the papists is that Holy Baptism is for those as for these only a ship (that breaks up later) for the start of the journey to heaven, but a person’s own repentance is the second plank, whereon they want to reach it.
[H] Oh, what a world of difference there is between the papists’ absolution and ours!  We say: ‘God has in Christ already absolved all sinners; the pastor — as well as everyone else who consoles the sinner with the Gospel — brings him only this absolution, and whoever believes this, has it.  To the papists, it is quite different. As surely as there is true remorse, true confession, true works of satisfaction, true ordination of the priest, etc., so certain become the sins forgiven.  That means, however, that no one is certain, as no one can ever be certain whether in all these parts everything is ordered and quite perfect.  Everything is built here on man, so on sand, on mud.  Hereby is also not to lose sight of the fact that a distinction is to be made between absolution and indulgence. [1880-81]

= = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 28  = = = = = = = = =
How much more simply can it be said of a true Lutheran than this:  As Lutherans,
We say: ‘God has in Christ already absolved all sinners; the pastor — as well as everyone else who consoles the sinner with the Gospel — brings him only this absolution, and whoever believes this, has it.
I confess:  if the forgiveness or absolution spoken to me does not include all sinners (universal) and that it is already existing in God's heart (objective), then I am going to hell.
In the next Part 28...

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