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Month: November 2016

The Word of God Must Have Free Course – How Is It Bound?

“According to Luther, the justification of a sinner before God for Christ’s sake is not only the principal doctrine of Christianity, but also the very essence of it. Furthermore, it is really the essence of the gospel itself and of all Christian faith, the Leitmotiv of the Christian life and the reason for all that exists. It is the only doctrine or message which can offer a poor sinner hope, salvation, and life and fellowship with God.”  That is what Robert Preus said and he was the preeminent scholar of Justification. God sent Jesus to save sinners.  Recognizing our sin is vital.  We bind the word when we get wishy washy with the Law.  We really do act sometimes as if they are the 10 suggestions and we tend to use them more as guides, than as what they are – messengers of a hangman.  Without getting into the arguments about the uses of the Law, the primary task of the Law is to kill us.  We have to die before we can rise to new life in Christ. In a world where there is no such thing as sin except calling someone a sinner, we can get to a point where we shy away from the Law in its severity and the Gospel is bound.  If Christ came to die for sinners and there is no sin the...

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The Bound Word

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, unto Thy Church Thy Holy Spirit and the wisdom which cometh down from above, that Thy Word, as becomes it, may not be bound, but have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people, that in steadfast faith we may serve Thee and in the confession of Thy name abide unto the end; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.  Amen. There is something called serendipity.  It is that thing that happens when you hear a word you have never heard before in your life and then you hear several more times in a day.  It is thinking of someone you haven’t heard from for a a while and they call you “out of the blue”. The Collect for the Church is also listed as one of the prayers for the 1st Sunday in Advent, the first Sunday of a New Church year.  Yesterday as we prayed it in church it struck me once again as an interesting prayer.  Today in some of the reading that I had set aside I found several old articles in which preachres talk about the way the word can be “bound”. The prayer alludes to 2 Timothy 2 – 8Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David,...

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Sola Gratia – Grace Alone

The Augsburg Confession, one of the Lutheran confessions that mark what we believe, teach, and confess speak of grace as a state into which men are received because of Christ’s merits. Article V:4: ” . . . that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ’s sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake.” Article XX: 9: “First, that our works cannot reconcile God or merit forgiveness of sins, grace, and justification, but that we obtain this only by faith, when we believc that we are received into favor for Christ’s sake, who alone has been set forth the Mediator and Propitiation . . . .” The Augsburg Confession speaks of “grace” as something obtained for Christ’s sake. Article XXVIII : 5 2 : “It is necessary that the chief article of thc Gospel be preserved, to wit, that we obtain grace freely by faith in Christ. and not for certain observances or acts of worship devised by men.” Share this on:...

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Faith Alone – What Does This Mean?

I always get a bit nervous when someone has a major issue such as an illness and someone says “well they have a strong faith”.  I am not sure what that means but I fear it means that they have faith in their faith.  If that is true then there is a problem. There are folks all over the Bible that talk about faith in interesting terms.  One fellow says “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”, and the disciples themselves ask for an increase in faith.  For Luther faith alone means that we trust in God’s Word alone and not our ability to trust. Here is an interesting perspective of what Sola Fide means from a non Lutheran. “Luther’s sola fide does not mean that we rely on faith alone, but rather that we rely on the word of God alone. For that is what faith does: it relies on the truth of the word, not on itself. This contrast between faith looking at the truth and faith looking at itself is crucial to the very nature and logic of faith. Faith is the heart taking hold of the truth, not the heart taking hold of its faith. This  is true of every kind of belief. If I want to find out whether I believe that it is snowing outside, I do not go looking into my heart to find...

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Reformation Sola’s – Sola Fide (faith alone)

There are three principles that came out of the Lutheran Reformation that Lutheran Christians hold dear.  They are Scripture alone, Grace Alone and Faith alone.  We trust in Scripture alone as our only source of doctrine and life.  We are saved by God’s grace alone and we receive it by faith alone. Sola Fide, or Faith alone is a big deal for the following reasons. “This doctrine confirms and maintains the Christian in humility and repentance, attributes to Christ’s work the power to save, grants to the penitent sinner assurance of salvation, is the sole source of his sanctification, enables him to understand the true Sacraments or means of grace, makes all believers members of the holy, universal Christian Church, removes from the Christian all false hopes concerning an illusory paradise on earth, shows him the abyss which exists between faith and unbelief, and finally is the guiding principle of Christian preaching.”  So said Pastor G. Wolff in a meeting of free churches in France and Belgium many years ago. Two of the points are particularly interesting.  The concept of being saved by faith alone showing the abyss that exists between faith and unbelief is expressed everyday in our life together and is the reason for so much of the tension in our world.  That is obvious.  What is not so obvious is what faith does with those discrepancies.  The reaction...

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