Friday, April 26, 2013

Luther on the Necessity of Preaching on Sanctification

"For a Christ who died for sinners who, after receiving forgiveness, will not quit their sin nor lead a new life, is worthless and does not exist.... There is nothing in their preaching concerning sanctification of the Holy Ghost and about being quickened into a new life. They preach only about the redemption of Christ. It is proper to extol Christ in our preaching; but Christ is the Christ and has acquired redemption from sin and death for this very purpose that the Holy Spirit should change our Old Adam into a new man, that we are to be dead unto sin and live unto righteousness, as Paul teaches Rom 6.2 ff., and that we are to begin this change and increase in this new life here and consummate it hereafter. For Christ has gained for us not only grace (gratiam), but also the gift (donum), of the Holy Ghost, so that we obtain from Him not only forgiveness of sin, but also the ceasing from sin. Any one, therefore, who does not cease from his sin, but continues in his former evil way must have obtained a different Christ, from the Antinomians. The genuine Christ is not with them, even if they cry with the voice of all the angels, Christ! Christ! They will have to go to perdition with their new Christ." Martin Luther Concerning Councils and Churches, as quoted by C.F.W. Walther in The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, 121-122

18 comments:

J. Dean said...

Spot on, Jordan. Those who would attempt to divorce Lutheranism from the extolling of good works in their proper context are attempting to divorce Lutheranism from Luther himself.

I guess I don't understand fully why the hostility toward the whole matter of sanctification when properly understood. Certainly nobody wants to drift into legalism, and I would be the first to scream bloody murder were anybody to turn works into some sort of grounds for justification (or even the central evidence of justification), but mentioning good works does not mean that Wesleyanism is going to infiltrate Wittenberg!

SamWise said...

Thanks for treading in apparently dangerous territories! :)

Steve Martin said...

Good works flow naturally out of the life of the believer.

No amount of law preaching can bring them about.

"The good you do won't save you and the evil you do won't condemn you." - Luther

Steve Martin said...

I went to a men's bible study one evening last year.
A fairly large group, maybe 50 guys. Mostly non-denominational types.

Romans was the book they were studying. I thought, great, I love Romans.

It was so boring and so self-focused. All these guys were interested in talking about was 'their growth'.

Do we grow in Christ? Sure we do. What do we have to do with it?

Joe said...

"Do we grow in Christ? Sure we do. What do we have to do with it?"

As much as we're called, exhorted and commanded to expressed in the scriptures. "Work out your salvation..." And the plethora of other passages that speak to this...

Steve Martin said...

95 Theses #1

"The entire life of the Christian os one of repentance"

- Luther

So much for the progression project.

David Gray said...

Steve,

You keep taking verses and quotes that complement one another and try to set them at war with one another. That is not compelling.

Joe said...

Steve,

Theses 1 of Luther concerning repentance in no way contradict or negate his view of progress, growth and a new life/creation.

The repeated scripture exhortations and even commands, the confessions and Luther himself all clearly show this. I am really not sure how Jordan's quote of Luther here could express it any clearer.

Do you just disagree with scripture, Lutheran confessions, and Luther on this point, or are you actually claiming these sources do not teach the concept???

Anonymous said...

Here's another question... Steve, do you subscribe unconditionally to the Lutheran Confessions? Do you believe they are true? And do you believe that Scripture is infallible? Or do you support a form of Gospel reductionism?

Steve Martin said...

I believe that Christ has done, is doing, and will yet do all that is needful.

Where the confessions and Scripture and men or women speak to that fact, that I am with them.

Where they send us back into ourselves...I am against them.

Steve Martin said...

The last thing that I want to be is a Southern Baptist Lutheran.

There is a lot of that going around.

Luther wasn't even dead yet when Lutherans starting going at it with each other on this stuff. The Melancthon wing held a humanist (self) view and mucked up a lot of what Luther fought for. it is still going on.

David Gray said...

Where the confessions and Scripture and men or women speak to that fact, that I am with them.

Where they send us back into ourselves...I am against them.


Translation: I'm for creeds and confessions when they agree with me. When they don't agree with me I reject their authority and remain a "me and my Bible" autonomous Christian.

Jordan Cooper said...

Well, Steve I'm glad you at least admit that you disagree with Scripture. But of course, this does make you the ultimate arbiter of truth. Since we have no common ground on which to argue (the text of Scripture) further debate with you on this topic will be fruitless.

Steve Martin said...

David Gray,

Don't be stupid. That's not what I said and you know it.

Jordan Cooper,

I disagree with Scripture that DOES NOT DRIVE CHRIST.

Why in heaven's name did Luther call James the epistle of straw.

It blows my mind that you guys actually call yourself Lutherans. Southern Baptist Lutherans is more like it.

Good day.

Nathan Rinne said...

Steve,

You shared this quote from Luther:

"The good you do won't save you and the evil you do won't condemn you."

Can I get a citation on that from you? A Google search only directs me to pages where you've posted it.

+Nathan

David Gray said...

Don't be stupid. That's not what I said and you know it.

Not overtly but in substance that is what you say. You won't even accept the Word when it says things that you don't like. This is an age which reeks of rebellion against authority. You do not sound like a man who can accept authority.

J. Dean said...

Steve,

I noticed that you completely disregarded Luther's own words as quoted by Jordan. So are you suggesting that Luther is not "Lutheran"?

terriergal said...

I think what is going on here is that we have Steve who is interested in living a pious life. And he is trying to use this passage as a solution to assurance or motivation for good works. That isn't what it is for. Steve wants to do good. However, for someone in his position, the law doesn't help. It may be a road map telling us where to go, but there is no gas in our car without the gospel. He already knows what he should do, but lacks motivation. The gospel is our motivation. We can do nothing without our eyes fixed on Jesus. That is what Forde is often speaking to.

The false convert who doesn't even really want to live a holy life (except as it benefits them) needs the law. He needs to be crushed by the law. That's what Luther is speaking to here, it seems. The smug sinner, the comfortable one who thinks he is saved because he was baptized, though there is no evidence that he even wants to have that new life.

Yes, we are both saint and sinner, and our old nature (which still doesn't want to be conformed to Christ after conversion) is always going to be there trying to live like a false convert. Because it is one. But Christ is surely mortifying that flesh day by day, as Christ increases in our eyes and we decrease.