The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence
Bethany Lutheran Church.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The Analogy of Faith teaches us that the Bible, as God's Word, contains no errors or contradictions. The Scriptures must be read as a whole, as a unified message of truth, because the Bible is the Book of the Holy Spirit, not a collection of verses strung together. One part explains the other, without discord.
Biblical faith means trust in God, specifically in what He has done for us in Christ. Paul urges Christians to rely upon the atoning death of the Savior.
The Apostle Paul
KJV 2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Paul taught the Means of Grace in Romans, showing that the fruit of preaching the Gospel is faith, forgiveness, and salvation. Try to wedge "I was saved 2,000 years ago" into this passage:
KJV Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The Means of Grace generate faith in those who hear the Gospel message of Christ crucified:
KJV Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
Faith must be something good in Paul's writing, since he offered Abraham as the prime example of faith, of justification by faith. Faith in God's promise was accounted as forgiveness, before and without the Law.
KJV Romans 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
This example matters because we are no different from Abraham. If we believe in Christ, we are forgiven.
KJV Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 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.
The ending of Romans 4 is summarized by the opening of Romans 5, leaving no doubt about access to God's grace, for how can anyone be forgiven or even pre-forgiven (Mark and Avoid Jeske) apart from grace?
KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The faith Jesus commended to us is a child-like faith, not the speculations of philosophers and snake-oil salesmen.
KJV Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
The Gospel of John emphasizes faith: beginning, middle, and end.
Beginning. The message is not to make a decision in favor of world-absolution, but to receive, to welcome, to trust in the Redeemer.
KJV John 1:11 He came unto his own, and His own received Him not. 12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name:
Middle. This passage clearly reveals that faith is salvation, that not believing in the Son is condemnation. Only the perverted could turn this passage into UOJ.
KJV John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God.
The Good Shepherd defined sin as not believing. The Holy Spirit works through the Law and Gospel, through Word and Sacrament, for one purpose - to convict us of our unbelief, to reprove us for not trusting completely in Christ alone, to remind us that unbelief is the foundational sin that fuels all other sin.
KJV John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on Me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see Me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Ending of John. How can someone read any portion of the Fourth Gospel and insist that world-absolution is taught? John 1:29 does not promote UOJ, because the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world also condemns those who do not receive, trust, or believe in the Gospel. Unbelievers are not forgiven or even pre-forgiven (as Master Heretic Jeske teaches). Unbelievers are already condemned, born condemned (not born forgiven) but given the Gospel freely so the Holy Spirit will move them to faith and forgiveness.
KJV John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name.