First Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Easter -
5. The Holy Spirit teaches us everything we should know, and truly nothing except what Christ taught and preached. Christ has given us teachings, but without the Spirit the Word and its doctrine neither can nor do they wish to be understood. Therefore he said better to his disciples before in John 14:26: “The Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.”
6. But the Holy Spirit, says Christ, “Will convict the world in respect of sin, because they believe not in me.” Therefore it follows that unbelief is the right and true sin; other sins flow out of unbelief and are even the fruit from this root.
7. In the second place: “Of righteousness, because I go to the Father,” to another Kingdom, not to begin an outward one; “and ye behold me no more; for my kingdom is not of this world,” in order that the whole world may be put to shame by the Spirit; because it makes its righteousness to consist in outward things.
8. In the third place: “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged”; which the world does not judge or condemn, but flatters and welcomes the devil, who is now already judged; that is, whose kingdom is already condemned, in that, error has come to the light of day through the Gospel, and becomes manifest.
Main Body of the Sermon
7. Now, against this evil God found a remedy and determined to send Christ, his Son, into this world, that he should shed his blood and die, in order to make satisfaction for sin and take it away, and that the Holy Spirit then should enter the hearts of such people, who go about with the works of the Law, being unwilling and forced to it, and make them willing, in order that without force and with joyous heart they keep God’s commandments. Otherwise there might be no means of removing the misery; for neither human reason and power, nor even an angel could rescue us from it.
There is is - Luther taught UOJ, just as Tim Glende claims. I will have to retract everything I wrote and pulp all my books.
But wait. I just edited the paragraph, as all the sleezy UOJ Enthusiasts do. I picked out what I want to market for the gullible and eliminated the destruction of UOJ at the end of the paragraph. I did this just to show everyone how this is done. If someone wants to defeat false teachers, he must look over their weapons, take them away, and crush them with the Word of God.
Thus, God has done away with the sins of all men who believe on the Christ, so that henceforth it is impossible for one to remain in sin who has this Savior, who has taken all sins upon himself and blotted them out.
Thus, paragraph #7 ends. Thus Luther teaches the complete meaning of the Atonement first, then justification by faith.
Some will object and say, "Isn't that Objective Justification and Subjective Justification in the same paragraph?" If people think WELS pastors are adamant about this, they are no different from many (but not all) LCMS pastors.
I have to take away the OJ/SJ escape filter, which they attach to most passages in the Bible. The essence of "Objective Justification" (whether in Samuel Huber, George C. Knapp, Walther, Stoeckhardt, F. Pieper, Valleskey, Tim Glende, Jay Webber - in descending order) is this:
A. Everyone on earth is forgiven of all sins, past, present, and future.
B. Every single person is righteous, whether he believes or not.
C. Every single person is saved, but people have to believe in UOJ or they are condemned, but they remain righteous saints, even in Hell.
9. What sort of sin then remains upon earth? No other than that one does not receive this Savior and refuses to accept him who has taken away sin.
For if he were present, there would be no sin, since he, as I have said, brings the Holy Spirit with him, who kindles the heart and makes it willing to do good. Therefore, the world is no longer punished and condemned on account of other sins, because Christ blots them all out; only this remains sin in the New Testament, that one will not acknowledge nor receive him.
Therefore he likewise says in this Gospel: “When the Holy Spirit is come, he will convict the world in respect of sin, because they believe not on me.”
Here Luther teaches that unbelief in Christ is the foundational sin. The Holy Spirit's work in all teaching and preaching is to condemn unbelief in Christ.
How many sermons begin and end with moralism? That really belongs to the Age of Pietism, which is still with us. The Pietists wanted to show evidence of true religion, so they had a long list of varying requirements for that life. One could never play cards, because of gambling, even if no gambling were allowed. One could not even watch dancing, because it could be lascivious. Therefore, Law preaching--about the sin of playing cards--ended with the solution, the Law - never play cards again!
If you think I jest, I heard about this happening with the District President of the Eastern Canada Synod, a man I met when he was very old. He saw kids playing cards on a home visit and a blistering sermon on card playing followed the next Sunday.
The liberal Pietists have their own law, which they enforce with much greater rigor. They enforce the latest fad and activism. Those who dissent are shunned, unless they come crawling back and repent of warming Mother Earth or voting Republican.
10. As if he wished to say: Had they believed on me, everything would already have been forgiven them, whatever sin they might have committed, for I know that they by nature cannot do otherwise. But because they will not receive me, neither believe that I can help them, this it is that will condemn them. Therefore, God will at the final judgment pass a sentence like this on them: Behold, thou wast in sin and couldst not free thyself from it, still I did not on this account wish to condemn thee, for I sent my only begotten Son to thee and intended to give thee a Savior, in order that he might take the sin from thee. Him thou didst not receive. Therefore, on this account alone, thou wilt be condemned, because thou hast not Christ.
No preacher or Biblical expositor has done more with a text than Luther. This is a paragraph on the graciousness of our Savior. This is not cheap grace - I'm OK, You're OK. It is not Situational Ethics - the end justifying the means. This is the strongest possible warning against unbelief in Christ. Yet the UOJ Enthusiasts constantly harangue everyone on forgiveness without faith.
15. The second thought then follows: “The Holy Spirit will convict the world in respect to righteousness, because I go to the Father,” says Christ, “and ye behold me no more.” Righteousness means piety and a good and honorable life before God. What is this now? It is, says Christ, “because I go to the Father.” We have often said about the resurrection of Christ that it came to pass not for his sake, but for our sakes, in order that we may apply it to ourselves as a blessing which is our own. For this reason he is risen from the dead and has ascended to heaven, that he might begin a spiritual kingdom, in which he reigns in us through righteousness and truth.
This is the real meaning of Romans 4:24-25. Do you ever wonder why these genius Lutheran leaders say Romans 4:25 instead of Romans 4:24-25? It is because the complete sentence destroys their hideous and odious agenda.
KJV Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
16. Wherever Christ is now preached and acknowledged, there he reigns in us, from the right hand of his Father, and is himself here below in the hearts of men. There he reigns with might, power and dominion over you and all your enemies, and guards you from sin, death, devil and hell. Thus is his resurrection and ascension our comfort, life, blessing, righteousness and everything in one. This is what the Lord means when he speaks of righteousness, that the people thereby should become pious and righteous, that he ascends to heaven to the Father and we see him no more. This the world does not know, therefore the Holy Spirit must come and convict the world of it.
17. How does this come to pass? Just as we have heard. Am I to become pious, it will not be enough for me to perform outwardly good works, but I must do them from the bottom of my heart, gladly and willingly, so that I may be free from the fear of sin, death and the devil; be joyous, and with a good conscience, and all confidence stand before him and know how I stand with him. This no work, no creature can give unto me, but Christ alone, who has ascended into heaven — there, where one cannot see him, but must believe that he sits yonder and wishes to help one. Such a faith makes me acceptable unto God; Christ gives me the Holy Spirit into my heart, who makes me willing and happy in the doing of every good work.
In this manner I become righteous, and in no other; for the works themselves make me more and more unwilling, the longer I occupy myself with them.
The true Gospel gives us nothing but comfort, because all claims to self-righteousness will go down in flames if anyone takes a careful look. Our righteousness comes from faith in Christ; anything else is condemned.
Many are seduced by the wisdom and glories of this world, but Luther knows where that comes from.
23. Therefore everything that the world considers good is debased.
Everything is evil because it does not proceed from the Word and the Spirit, but from the old Adam, who is nothing more than a blind fool and sinner. And why? Should not your wisdom and reason be foolishness and count for nothing, since the most exalted one, who has all the power and wisdom of this world in the highest degree, is condemned? For, without doubt, there is no one in the world so wise, shrewd and rational as the devil, and no one is able to make a more pious appearance. And all wisdom and holiness that do not proceed from God, as well as the most beautiful things in the world, are found in their highest degree in the devil. Since he is a prince and the ruler of the world, the wisdom and righteousness of the world must proceed from him; here he reigns with all his power. Therefore, Christ says: Since the same prince of the world is condemned, with all that he has and can do, the world is ever blind because it considers that to be good which has been condemned already, namely his wisdom and piety.
Ministers and laity easily fall in love with the temporary trappings of wealth and power. Charles Colson, in prison, realized that he had sought the wrong thing. If we remember where glories of this world come from, the pursuit is no longer so appealing. Christian said in Pilgrim's Progress that he would not go back to working for Satan, because the wages were so bad. Satan asked how that could be, so Christian said, "The wages of sin is death."
Luther on bearing the cross:
25. But now, since the prince of this world and the Holy Spirit, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the devil, are directly opposed to one another, and the Holy Spirit is not willing that anyone should parade his own deeds and praise himself on account of them, the holy cross must soon follow. The world will not consent to be reprimanded for its blindness. Therefore one must willingly submit and suffer persecution. If we have the right kind of faith in our hearts, we must also open our mouths and confess righteousness and make known sin. Likewise we must condemn and punish the doings of this world and make it known that everything it undertakes, is damned. For this we must be considered heretics, and must pass through the fire. They say: This is against the holy councils and the canon of the holy father, the pope. Then you are to answer: How can I help it? Here it stands — the text does not say the Holy Spirit is to convict them and say their doctrine is error, blindness and the government of the devil. This, of course, they will not endure, but would have us call them gracious noblemen. Therefore, one must here risk his neck.
Nothing enrages the UOJ hive more than justification by faith. They ask: what about our dear Walther? What about the clear teaching of Holy Mother Synod? What about your classmates? How can you turn your back on pure grace and make faith a work? The UOJ Stormtroopers are not thinkers, but doers. They get rid of anyone who condemns their teaching of forgiveness without faith. But they try to claim they teaching justification by faith, after excommunicating and humiliating those who teach Luther's doctrine. And they call themselves "confessional Lutherans" all the while.
34. Therefore, beware of these liars and understand the words rightly, thus:
Christ wishes to speak of the inward, actual character, not of outward jugglery. He wishes to make the heart, before the eyes of God, pious and righteous in order that it, in the first place, acknowledge its sin, and in the second place, that it acknowledge him to be the one who forgives sin and suffers himself to be sacrificed upon the cross. This is that “truth” which the apostles were not yet able to hear and understand. But those outward things make no one righteous, lead no one to the truth. They make only hypocrites and a show, by which the people are deceived.
35. Thus, we have the true meaning of this passage, from which we see how fools who seek from it to bolster up their jugglery, place themselves in opposition to it and build upon the sand. There is scarcely a passage that is more strongly opposed to them than this one. We have briefly explained this Gospel lesson in order that we may see how it teaches just that which we have always preached.