Great comments on Luther's sermon! I offer the following and hope that you will see that I’ve done some “homework,” on this:
While again, quickly reading it - and, your comments, especially your references to the UOJ - "Universal Objective Justification," crowd, who, essentially believe, teach and preach cheap grace, I could not help but think of the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24.
Here, in Luke 24, we have a fitting example of how Christian pastors are to project the message (Word) of the prophesied holy sacrificed and risen Christ. The chapter, especially, Christ’s words, speaks about Moses and the prophets, - the same Moses and the prophets who were referenced when Father Abraham spoke to the lost and unbelieving rich man (tormented in hell), in Christ's parable in Luke 16 - "The Rich Man and Lazarus."
Moses and the prophets are also God's “Gospel” Word, because in the Gospel wide sense, those Scriptures present the necessary mirror reflection that sinful man desperately needs to witness [of] himself and his wretched condition before a holy and just God. The prophetic part is about the suffering and risen Christ, where the forgiveness of sins, enter in. When Jesus makes reference to "Moses and the Prophets" they [it] are inseparable to His birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection:
Luke - 24:44 - "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."
However, the full implication of what Christ stated cannot be comprehended unless it is granted from above. I'm convinced that the spiritual and mental roadblocks of the UOJ crowd are there, because they cannot understand (by faith) what Christ said, and the implications of what He said:
We further read Christ's precious Gospel words - "Gospel" in both the narrow and wide sense (Law and Gospel):
Luke 24:45 - Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
Luke 24:46 - And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Luke 24:47 - And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at
Luke 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of
until ye be endued with power from on
I think it is very noteworthy to point out Jesus' choice and order of 2 actions - that, being: "repentance and remission of sins." But, UOJ'S don't want to preach that because they are blind to that - or don't want to either believe or convey that, to their congregations. And, horrors should they convey that “repentance” part, at Christmas, Easter and funeral mixed heathen and Christian attendance crowds, - that the natural man, the old Adam and sinful Christian are helpless without the Holy Spirit's initiating action of faith and the continued generation of that operating and saving faith – as partially expressed by Luther’s excellent explanation of the Third article of the Apostle’s Creed:
“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost [Spirit] has called me by the Gospel……:”
[Matthew 16:17 ; John 3:3-7 ; John 1:12-13 ; John 6:65 ; Romans 9:15-18 ; Ephesians 2:1-10 ; Colossians 1:20-21 ; 1 Peter 1:3 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; 1 Peter 1:5 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ; Titus 3:5 ; Philippians 2:13 ; James 1:18 ; 1 John 5:4]
Also, if my recall serves me correctly, Verse 45, (in the Greek) more, pointedly, says: "....then He opened up of them the mind to understand the Scriptures."
In short, unless the Holy Spirit initiates and works a grace in the hearts of individuals in the UOJ crowd, - namely, the "opening up of them, the mind to understand the Scriptures," they will collectively continue to believe, teach and preach a false (apostasy) type of Gospel, of cheap grace, devoid of Scripture's teaching of personal faith acquired and being generated by the Holy Spirit.
Pastor emeritus Nathan M. Bickel