Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Satisfaction - AP IV

I have been soaking and reading the Apology of Augsburg, IV. I so thoroughly savor reading this chapter. I come back to it over and over again. For me, the longest chapter in the Book of Concord, is so nice to read, a really fine exposition on Justification. I have read modern authors but nothing to my taste can compare to this fine exposition by Melanchton, of which I gather he got from some of Luther's writtings.

Here are a few snippets. I like my Tappert version than the one online, but it is easy just cutting and pasting from it for the sake of discussion. So here...

43] But since justification is obtained through the free promise it follows that we cannot justify ourselves. Otherwise wherefore would there be need to promise? [And why should Paul so highly extol and praise grace?] For since the promise cannot be received except by faith, the Gospel which is properly the promise of the remission of sins and of justification for Christ's sake, proclaims the righteousness of faith in Christ, which the Law does not teach. Nor is his the righteousness of the Law. 44] For the Law requires of us our works and our perfection. But the Gospel freely offers, for Christ's sake, to us, who have been vanquished by sin and death, reconciliation which is received not by works, but by faith alone. This faith brings to God not confidence in one's own merits, but only confidence in the promise, or 45] the mercy promised in Christ. This special faith, therefore, by which an individual believes that for Christ's sake his sins are remitted him, and that for Christ's sake God is reconciled and propitious, obtains remission of sins and justifies us. And because in repentance, i.e. in terrors, it comforts and encourages hearts, it regenerates us and brings the Holy Ghost that then we may be able to fulfil God's Law, namely, to love God, truly to fear God, truly to be confident that God hears prayer, and to obey God in all afflictions; it mortifies concupiscence etc. 46] Thus, because faith, which freely receives the remission of sins, sets Christ, the Mediator and Propitiator, against God's wrath, it does not present our merits or our love [which would be tossed aside like a little feather by a hurricane]. This faith is the true knowledge of Christ, and avails itself of the benefits of Christ, and regenerates hearts, and precedes the fulfilling of the Law.

Notice the following:

1. The word Gospel is thrown around in Christian circles but it has been tortured to some nebulous connotations. The Gospel is the Promise. Well we can say it is Proclamation of the Promise as well. Note that Promise-Faith go hand in hand and only at faith is justification enjoyed and possessed too. This faith uses Jesus as mediator in front of God. It presents Christ to God. It brings the merits of Christ to God. God sees his seed in the hands of faith. Holding on to Christ, God sees the apple of his eyes - Jesus and is satisfied.

2. The quote speaks of sanctification as well, but the Gospel is about the Promise of God and not about sanctification. And though sanctification follows as fruit of justification, the Gospel is not about it but rather about Promise of reconciliation. The BoC does not seem to be alergic towards sanctification, as can be seen. The thing is that it can not be measured and it can not be used to gain favor with God. But sanctification, there is, and is asserted by this chapter. It places justification as its source.

This is good news, Jesus paid it all.



David Cochrane said...


Ist sehr gut ja!

The moderns have an extremely difficult time getting into the passive mode. In addition we have nothing in our experience in which we passively receive things like they did under kings and princes.

The adult mind has problems in addition to think of itself as an infant receiving nourishment. That analogy and the one Fr Baker refers to as adoption found in scripture is somewhat effective in getting the point across. I was surprised one time when speaking to an elderly gentleman, retired presby minister, and he corrected me when I referred to adoption. He never considered that as showing our true relationship to God.

Just keep banging away at our reformed brethren and papists as well they will see the light. God is able!

pax domine†

LPC said...

Bro. David,

One time I too had the blessing of comforting a presby couple about thier way-ward child. The wife was getting fearful that their son might be reprobate.

I said - remind God that he was baptized and that it is he who has taken your boy to his own by Christ's death. God will bring him to faith, because Jesus' death is all grace. What he has promised he will do.

God is able.


David Cochrane said...

Bro Lito,

Do you have access to this person to go and execute the law on him? It is good to comfort the parents but it would not be good for that comfort be given to the comfortable sinner. A person not family can at times have an impact on a rebel such as he.

Nothing more humbling/scary/rewarding than to lay down the law to secure sinners and when terrified proclaim the gospel.

God's peace. †

LPC said...

hi bro dave,

Unfortunately I no longer have access to the boy. The couple are a seasoned presby and my impression is that the boy is becoming rebellious because of so many rules he can not keep. Sometimes people who are not getting the Gospel but rather much of the Law get burned up and rebellion is the outworking of that burnt up feeling.