The Glory Has Departed


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Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Sunday after Christmas, 2014. Galatians 4:1-7



The Sunday after Christmas, 2014

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 81 O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is               3.60
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #90    Come, Your Hearts and Voices        3.83

Gospel, Law, Anti-Law, 

The Hymn #
649      Jesus Savior Pilot Me                          3.80
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #660         Heaven Is My Home                   2.46

KJV Galatians 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

KJV Luke 2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Sunday After Christmas

O almighty and everlasting God, mercifully direct our ways, that we may walk in Thy law, and be made to abound in good works: through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Gospel, Law, and Anti-Law
KJV Galatians 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 

Galatians is a letter Paul wrote quickly in his own hand, crushing the outbreak of false doctrine in that congregation. Lutherans have always treasured the epistle as  a powerful declaration of justification by faith, "the Chief Article of the Christian Religion, the master and prince" of all other doctrinal matters, as Luther wrote.

Moreover, Luther wrote two commentaries on Galatians, the second one as his final say on justification by faith. This commentary was so important to the Book of Concord editors that they commended Luther's commentary twice - for readers wanting to know more about the topic. 

In case anyone wonders about the Book of Concord's attitude, the section on justification is called "The Righteousness of Faith" in the Formula of Concord.

Going back 50 years earlier, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, written by Melanchthon, has a long section on justification by faith, which reflects upon the Augsburg Confession, #4  and #5.

Anti-Law
This lesson is extremely important because the Antinomians (Anti-Law, literally) have misused it to promote their cause. That is not a side issue, because Universal Objective Justification (justification without faith) is another version of the Antinomian argument. The Antinomians say that "now we have Christ and the Gospel, so the Law is obsolete."

So their favorite passage needs to be restored to its clarity, to defeat their false claims. This chapter builds upon the classic one used for the Antinomian cause -

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.


26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Paul is countering the false claims that Christians must be observant of Jewish law to be real Christians. After all, Jesus and the disciples were all Jews, and the Gospel is based on Old Testament Promises being fulfilled.

Against that, Paul preached that the Gospel alone converts and does not require someone to come from a background of Jewish observances.

KJV Galatians 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 

This is a parable, offering a little story about the difference between being under the Law and under the Gospel, and it reflects the earlier passage about the schoolmaster. A child of wealth or influence is no better than a servant of his father when he is still in school, still being tutored. All of them are subordinate to the system and have to follow the rules. Some think they are above the rules because of their importance.

I have had these special students in college. One girl made sure I knew her father was on the faculty, so she acted very royal. I called her Princess.

The son of the richest father still has to pass English to get a degree, so he is no different from the butler or gardener at his father's home. He has to obey the rules. One said they had an enormous farm, but he kept copying his homework from the Net, so he failed. 

Diplomas even say that the recipient has certain rights and privileges - after graduation. Before that they often feel like worms. Ask any graduate student. A doctoral student is a slave who must obey until the degree is granted. At one university, undergraduate degrees were given to students who knelt to receive them. Doctoral degrees were given to students who remained standing and shook hands with the university president.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

This is Paul's argument to keep the Galatians from returning to salvation based on obedience to the Law. The Antinomians have turned this into making the Law obsolete. In the UOJ version, everyone is born forgiven and will be forgiven all future sins. This eliminates repentance and the Means of Grace. One illustration is from WELS Meditations -

"WELS Meditations, March-May 2014, for Monday, 17 March 2014.   "No matter what you did yesterday -- or failed to do -- and no matter what you will do tomorrow, God has forgiven you." (This must have been music to the itching ears of Marvin Schwan.)

The Eduard Preuss quotation, which is dearly loved by John Brug (WELS), Jack Cascione  (Cascione Synod) and Paul McCain (Lead Singer, The Copycats), states that everyone in the world is born forgiven. Everyone. 

But Galatians does not say this - nor does any passage in the Bible. Why would we baptize infants if they were born forgiven and already saved? Why confess sins that are already forgiven?

UOJ version of Antinomianism proves that no one escapes the Law of the Antinomians. They condemn and excommunicate those who deny and reject their UOJ nonsense. Thus during Luther's lifetime, Agricola the Antinomian, constantly agitated against Luther.

The Law shows us our need for the Savior, so the Law is spiritual (from the Holy Spirit), useful, and good. The Law is a brief way of saying the entire universe was created by God, so those principles are part of everything we do. People have shown that they bring themselves to grief by saying they are above or beyond the Law. They damage many others, too, who suffer from the Antinomian illusion of being too mature, wise, or noble for the Law.

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 

Paul means to say that the Law is something material , mundane, earthly. It may restrain evil, but it does not deliver from sin. The Law does not justify; it does not bring a person to heaven. I do not obtain eternal life because I do not kill, commit adultery, steal, etc. Such mere outward decency does not constitute Christianity. The heathen observe the same restraints to avoid punishment or to secure the advantages of a good reputation.


Martin Luther. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Kindle Locations 2017-2020). 

On a lower level, the Law restrains our behavior, and we can see that in effect across all cultures. But the higher level of the Law accuses our conscience, so we feel guilt and seek the comfort of forgiveness and salvation.

But the Law does not bring comfort and forgiveness, as Luther wrote so eloquently - 

...the Law has nothing to do with justification. If it thrusts its nose into the business of justification we must talk harshly to the Law to keep it in its place. The conscience ought not to be on speaking terms with the Law. The conscience ought to know only Christ. To say this is easy, but in times of trial, when the conscience writhes in the presence of God, it is not so easy to do. As such times we are to believe in Christ as if there were no Law or sin anywhere, but only Christ. We ought to say to the Law: "Mister Law, I do not get you. You stutter so much. I don't think that you have anything to say to me." 

When it is not a question of salvation or justification with us, we are to think highly of the Law and call it "holy, just, and good." (Romans 7: 12) The Law is of no comfort to a stricken conscience. Therefore it should not be allowed to rule in our conscience, particularly in view of the fact that Christ paid so great a price to deliver the conscience from the tyranny of the Law. Let us understand that the Law and Christ are impossible bedfellows. The Law must leave the bed of the conscience, which is so narrow that it cannot hold two, as Isaiah says, chapter 28, verse 20.


Martin Luther. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Kindle Locations 2031-2039). 

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 

This verse is clearly a Virgin Birth passage, because the point is assumed rather than argued. That was already known in Paul's circles, so there was no need to repeat the obvious. But it is restated in another form - God sent forth His Son - divine nature, born of a woman, born under the Law - human nature. This God-Man redeemed those born under the Law, paying the price for their sins.

This is the great message of the Gospel, that the power of the Law was overcome by the Savior born under the Law. This came about in the fulness of time. God prepared His people for centuries and provided a Savior for them who would convert many of His own people (though He was rejected by the great and wise) and send forth the Gospel across the Roman Empire.

It is said that all future empires modeled themselves on the Roman Empire - the Muslim Ottoman Empire took Constantinople (the Second Rome). The Medieval Empire was called the Holy Roman Empire. And Hitler considered his reign the Third Reich or Empire. Whatever man designed, God used to extend His Kingdom. Wherever the British landed and established their fueling ports and trading zones, they brought education and the Gospel. 

Through the Means of Grace, Jesus transcended the empires of man to establish His Kingdom, which continues to grow as new souls are added and new lands conquered for the Gospel.

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

This is the Holy Communion passage, in a sense, because Paul refers to the Lord's Prayer, which was traditionally reserved for closed communion, when all others were ushered out of church. (Traditions vary, of course)

The importance is shown by the Lord's Prayer in Matthew, Luke, and Romans 8:15 as well.

This shows the pure grace of God, since this forgiveness comes to us through faith, not through works of the Law.