The Glory Has Departed
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Predigtamt has left a new comment on your post "Icha-Air-Rescue":
Thesis: Teaching the WELS doctrine of Universal Objective Justification (WELS UOJ) leads to a decrease in church attendance. Teaching the Augsburg Confession doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone (AC) leads to an increase in church attendance. A Question and Answer might go like this:
Q (WELS UOJ parishioner): Why should I go to my WELS church to worship if I was already forgiven when Christ died on the cross? Isn’t it enough for me to think about Jesus at home? Aren’t sermons and the sacraments only to assure me that my sins were already forgiven? Since I don’t feel the need for forgiveness, why should I go to church?
A (Augsburg Confession Lutheran pastor): Scripture teaches that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). And: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12)! The forgiveness Christ won on the cross is not yours unless and until hearing the gospel the Holy Spirit creates and strengthens faith in your heart to believe it. Paul is crystal clear on this: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). It is not enough to only think about Jesus, the cross, and forgiveness. You need to hear the preached gospel and receive the visible gospel in the sacraments. It is not just the assurance of forgiveness, but it is also and especially the actual forgiveness of your sin that you receive through the audible and visible Word of God preached in the sermon and received in the sacraments.
Here is something Luther said that might help you:
“We treat of the forgiveness of sins in two ways. First, how it is achieved and won. Second, how it is distributed and given to us. Christ has achieved it on the cross, it is true. But he has not distributed or given it on the cross. He has not won it in the supper or sacrament. There he has distributed and given it through the Word, as also in the gospel, where it is preached. He has won it once for all on the cross. But the distribution takes place continuously, before and after, from the beginning to the end of the world. …. [So] if now I seek the forgiveness of sins, I do not run to the cross, for I will not find it given there. Nor must I hold to the suffering of Christ,…in knowledge or remembrance, for I will not find it there either. But I will find in the sacrament or gospel the word which distributes, presents, offers, and gives to me that forgiveness which was won on the cross.” (Against the Heavenly Prophets - 1525)
See you Sunday!