Hence, it is important to believe what the Pastor says in the absolution, in the sermon of Law and Gospel, in the giving of the Supper, that at those points, since they connect us to the Atonement, our sins are forgiven to us through faith in the promises they bring. Romans 1:16-17.
I got these Luther quotes and BoC quote from Ichabod's Thy Strong Word:
From Thy Strong Word:
"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the Holy Spirit came...." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279. Pentecost Sunday. John 14:23-31.
J-528In a nutshell, no one gets saved without Word or Sacrament.
"Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure. It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ." Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #48. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Heiser, p. 36.
When I was an Arminian, I heard Pentecostal preachers making faith a form of works such that it can be used to condemn you when results do not happen. For example, you lacked faith if you are not healed etc. The problem is that they corrupted the idea of faith. Rather than something that is produced by God's Word, it is something you work up, so they preached.
However, now that I am Lutheran, I hear so called "confessional" Lutherans ( in the Internet and around ) do not even want you to mention faith at all, in fact, it is somewhat spoken of in a condemnatory fashion. I suspect this is a Waltherian inspired attitude. How come? St Paul was not shy to answer the Philippian jailer when he was asked, what he should do to be saved - "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved and your household".
Whereas faith may not be necessary to be mentioned in a Law and Gospel sermon, it is also not wrong to mention it either, for the Apostles used the word and Jesus is even called the author and perfecter of our faith, correct?
Do not get me wrong, I think C. F. Walther's book - Law and Gospel book is quite helpful in some respects. I have also read some of his essays that I hmmm about. In my early walk, I did hear of a pastor or two ( I cannot remember may be they were from my synod) expressing concerns about Walther. What they said did not register with me at that time. I now have an idea why.
Honestly I have even read of folk declaring Walther to be their hero. I am now sceptical of declaring this dead guy or that, to be my hero. I now hold no sacred cows. But here is what I observe, seems to me for some "confessional" people, it is okay to disagree with Luther but you'd better not disagree with Walther or Pieper, or you are going to get it.
Huh? No offense, I do not think these guys have insights at par with Luther, or with Chemnitz etc. So today when I hear folk claiming they are "confessional", I stop and think, now does that mean they are faithful to the BoC? Or, do they mean they are faithful to the teaching of their "synodical fathers"? For frankly , "confessional" does not mean what it used to mean, it could mean, the guy is "synodical" (following the heritage of their synodical fathers).
Just thinking out loud.