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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rough Draft - Justification by Faith in the Bible - For the Book


Justification in the Scriptures –
All Quotations Are from the English Version of Luther’s Bible –
The Tyndale Translation edited as the King James Version

Attributes of God’s Word

Clarity or Perspicuity

The Scriptures are clear, easy to understand, and do not require a priest to teach us the arcane secrets that only the elite understand
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 118:105 

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19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:19-21
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For this reason, all books and authorities are subordinated to the Word of God, because the Scriptures judge all books, articles, commentaries, authorities, and traditions. We call the Bible “the ruling norm” because nothing is above the Word of God, the revelation of His will.
Luther expressed this well when he preached,
"The Holy Spirit teaches man better than all the books; He teaches him to understand the Scriptures better than he can understand them from the teaching of any other; and of his own accord he does everything God wills he should, so the Law dare make no demands upon him."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 280. Pentecost Sunday John 14:23-31.   

Efficacy of the Word
The Word alone has the divine power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:8-11
The Isaiah passage contains three promises:
1.    The Word will never return void, just as rain and snow always have an effect.
2.    The Word’s effect will be pleasing to God.
3.    The Word’s effect will be great, abundant, and unmistakable, even if seen otherwise – such as Paul preaching and causing a riot. (Acts 17:13)
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Genesis 1 and John 1 reveal the Son of God as the Creating Word, so that nothing in the universe around us is created apart from Him. The Trinitarian Creation is defined by God as the Father’s will carried out through the Word, witnessed by the Holy Spirit, accomplished in six days.
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And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:3
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3
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The Word of God always has this power and never lacks in power, unless man dilutes it, distorts it, or creates an alloy made up of one part God’s Word and 99 parts man’s opinion. Thus the power of God’s Word is directly related to its purity.
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12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16
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False doctrine also has power to delude, harden, and blind people, but that is really derived from God’s power when His Word is rejected in favor of error.
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Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12
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The Means of Grace
Because the Holy Spirit only works through the Word, any claim about God’s will and work must be directly attributed to the Scriptures. Therefore, the Word of God is the Means or Instrument by which God’s grace is conveyed to people. The Gospel is the announcement of God’s promises and blessings, chiefly the righteousness of Christ and the forgiveness of sins, God’s victory over sin, death, and the devil.
Very Important – God’s Grace Is Never Divorced from the Means of Grace
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Unity of Truth
Luther is still respected – and hated – today because he read the Scriptures as a unified truth, not as one particular item or another to be taught. The Lutherans of the Reformation avoided speaking of individual articles as if each one existed separately, but taught what the Word revealed as a whole. Naturally, some distinctions have to be made for man, since comprehending the entire Scriptures is an art and gift given to few men.
The Scriptures not only have divine power and efficacy – they are consistent, without error or contradictions. Luther himself used the Latin for these words in his Large Catechism, dealing with Holy Baptism – infallible and inerrant. The entire Christian Church, Roman Catholics included, taught the infallibility of the Bible until the last century or so. When rationalists began quibbling and double-talking about “infallible in doctrine but not in history and geography,” some began using the term “inerrant.” However, inerrant is simply Luther’s term, less vulnerable to degradation.
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11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11


Justification in the Bible
The new experts on justification do not seem interested in justification in the Bible, unless they can use some phrases to launch into their own private speculations, fads, and ethnic traditions, some almost 200 years old. But they are allergic to this ancient figure Abraham, who is intimately connected to justification by faith throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New.
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15 After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:1-6
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The meaning of justification is to be counted or reckoned as righteous. God not only promised Abraham a son of his own, through Sarah, but a nation as great and numerous as the stars in the sky. We no longer see the spangled heavens the way they appear, without light pollution and interference from tall buildings. The infinity of space and the billions of stars expressed to Abraham how great this Promise was – the righteous through faith would be his heirs and fill the earth, with blessings impossible for man to number. Abraham believed this Promise and trusted in God, so he became the example of faith in the Old and New Testaments.

Romans is Paul’s great doctrinal essay, a summary of his Gospel work, inspired by the Holy Spirit. False teachers have plucked one fragment of one sentence out of Romans 4 to celebrate and emphasize their delusions. But that must be seen in context. The first three chapters destroy any possibility of justification by works, whether a religious work- righteousness or a civil works-righteousness, always contrasting this man-made righteousness of works with God’s justification by faith.
Chapter 4 is a celebration of Abraham as the example of justification by faith –
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What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
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.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
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Some say, “No fair. You said Romans 4 but included Romans 5:1-2.” The chapter headings are late, man-made. There are definite thematic breaks, but that does not mean we should stop reading at the end of Romans 4 and not see the next two verses as the summary of that little essay on Abraham. Paul began with Abraham, applied this to anyone who trusts in the God who raised Jesus from the dead – who was raised for our justification. And he concludes by starting the next chapter with a two verse summary of justification by faith – the only way we receive peace, forgiveness, being reckoned as righteous in the same way as Abraham.
This Romans passage is clear so justification by faith has always been taught by traditional Protestants and Lutherans, even Lutherans in the LCMS and WELS. Naturally, one asks how Romans 4:25 by itself has been elevated to a slogan often repeated – by Webber also – even though it is a fragment of a sentence.
The Pietists misused 1 Timothy 3:16, so Romans 4:25 appealed to them as support for their abuse of “justified in the Spirit.”
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was
·         manifest in the flesh,
·         justified in the Spirit,
·         seen of angels,
·         preached unto the Gentiles,
·         believed on in the world,
·         received up into glory. 1 Timothy 3:16
These six verbs strike most people as a well known confession of faith, and “without controversy” can be translated from the Greek – “as we all confess…” The Pietists created this strange logical cul-de-sac, as if Jesus Himself needed to be justified. They argue - since He was justified, the entire world was justified in Him, because He bore the sins of the world. That is the Easter absolution of Stephan, Walther, and all Pietists. They are blind to the previous verse, Romans 4:24, and emphasize Romans 4:25 out of context. Now they are wedded to the dogma of Halle Pietism and feverishly hope to make people forget Romans 4:24, Chemnitz, Luther – and St. Paul.
[Rambach versus Chemnitz]
One ardent supporter of UOJ wrote, years ago, “You cannot quote Luther’s Romans Commentary. That was early in his career.”
The way in which people believe and receive forgiveness is clearly outlined in Romans 10, sometimes called the Means of Grace chapter in that epistle.
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But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
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.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
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? [Reference to Isaiah 53, the central Gospel message of the Old Testament]
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:8-17
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The Holy Spirit clearly teaches us through Paul that those who believe and confess the truth of Christ will be saved. We believe unto righteousness, similar to the phrasing of the Formula of Concord – the righteousness of faith.
The  Midwestern Pietists have a strange aversion to the word “faith,” which may be explained by Walther always treated faith as a work of man. Anything related to faith is a work, and to be disparaged, to emphasize grace. But that is not unique to the Midwestern Pietistic Lutherans of the Synodical Conference.
Scholarship
I do not find any Lutheran promoting UOJ who has graduate training in theology. They are seminary graduates (and not always that) who find themselves rewarded for repeating the limited knowledge of Walther, a college graduate—and Stephan, who did not bother to graduate (like Moldstadt before he became Professor of New Testament and UOJ at Bethany Seminary). If McCain, Webber, Buchholz, and others would study modern theology and read hundreds of books on this topic, they would find a striking resemblance between Walther, themselves, and the modern apostate, mainline theologians. Whether someone is a PhD from ELCA, or the Presbyterian Church, or European, the famous theologians all caution the reader against “making faith a contingency.” If faith is required, then it is no longer grace, but a work. They necessarily conclude that everyone is already saved because of God’s grace. Anything else is a denial of grace. The result in WELS, the ELS, and the corrupted echelons in Missouri is an attempt to erase faith from the Christian Faith.   
There are two kinds of scholarship. One is based on formal training and earned degrees. For better or worse, a PhD at a real university will expose the student to a wide variety of scholars, opinions, and research methods. Drive-by DMins have not claim to scholarship, because they have simply exchanged a lot of money for a chance to call themselves “Dr” when they know better.
The other scholarship is simply study, whether one earns degrees or honors. Anyone can be a scholar of the Bible. The original Greek word meant “leisure,” which mean the scholars of the day took the time to study and think about various topics. These scholars laid the foundation of Western culture, law, science, arts, and architecture. Pastors and laity can be scholars, and many of them are. They are the fifth column, the resistance against the eructations of self-destructive Waltherians. The pastors have let down their members and gone against their ordination vows for many decades.