The Glory Has Departed


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Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016.
St. Paul Teaches the Faith of Jesus Justifies



The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 281                                     The Savior Calls                
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

St. Paul on Justification by Faith of Jesus


The Communion Hymn # 308     Invited, Lord, by Boundless Grace                     
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 # 464                     Blest Be the Tie That Binds     

        

KJV Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

KJV Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we most heartily thank Thee that Thou hast granted us to live in this accepted time, when we may hear Thy holy gospel, know Thy fatherly will, and behold Thy Son, Jesus Christ! We pray Thee, most merciful Father: Let the light of Thy holy word remain with us, and so govern our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forsake Thy word, but remain steadfast in it, and finally obtain eternal salvation; 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.



St. Paul on Justification by Faith of Jesus

KJV Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 

When faced with the Good Samaritan or this passage in Galatians, many ministers are tempted to deal with Jesus' parable. And in doing so, they commit the very error that Paul writes against. Not that the two readings are opposed. The problem is falling into the same error of justification by works - among Christians - that Paul writes against. The Good Samaritan is used to this day to launch works sermons, making people feel guilty for not being good enough, active enough, social activist enough. Their BBQ grills are melting the polar ice, activists claim, and drowning the polar bears. Little girls sob in the pews, and parents go home to turn off the air-conditioner for an hour or two, to save the planet.

After all, this passage is another one of those opaque Pauline passages that seem to defy explanation. And this is obviously not studied much at all, and certainly not in the light of Luther. If every minister knew Galatians there would not be a peep against Justification by Faith Alone.

As Luther observes, this starts with a human analogy - and the Reformer seems to be against these analogies from human experience. This is classical rhetoric, which is seldom noticed or practiced. Arguing against human analogies by others, a very good point, Luther turns to the examples of Jesus doing the same thing.

There is a difference. When we have analogies from human experience in the Scriptures, they are God's Word and teach us what we need to know. In contrast, when someone makes up an analogy to prove a point, the new analogy may not fit at all. In many cases, the analogy is used to reverse the meaning of Scripture.

The plain words of the Scripture are then obscured with this new analogy, which is cited repeatedly to prove their error. Eventually the man-made analogy is old and honored by being old, so it must be true. People are pointed to the honor and glory of the human author, rather than to the plain meaning of the Word of God. In time few want to question this new dogma, for fear of dishonoring the people involved and Holy Mother Synod.

But sinful man deserves no honor, only the responsibility for teaching the Word as it is - honoring God and His message of Jesus' own faith (Galatians 3:22). 



Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men
Paul is contending against the false teachers who "honor the Gospel" but only want to insist on one thing - that the Galatians observe Jewish ritual in order to be real Christians (just as "real Lutherans" eat a concoction called Tiger Meat). This short, energetic, sometimes angry epistle was written in Paul's own hand to squash the Judaizers and accomplished its purpose. The problem will continue forever, for the worst opponents are not the atheists and the people way out there, but the false teachers within who argue that their new, improved message is for the good of everyone and the Church itself.

Therefore, this Epistle contrasts faith with works, showing that forgiveness apart from faith is always going to be by works. There are no other alternatives. To make matters clear, then, Paul will use an analogy - a human comparison - to show what he means.

Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 

This is the classic last will and testament that we obtain from lawyers. If someone has died, leaving a Last Will and Testament, the actions are to be carried out, even if no one knows in advance what was in that Testament. No one can legally change or annul that will once the individual has died.

How was Abraham blessed and forgiven? Through faith. God's Promise to him, that all would be blessed through him, was not based on the works of Abraham but through his faith. Genesis 15 - Abraham believed God and it was counted as forgiveness. That forgiveness came through believing the Promises of God, so that could not be changed to - through the works of Abraham, though his works were great.

"In thy seed shall all the nations be blessed." That refers to one - Christ - because through the faith of Abraham, all the Christians of the world be blessed, since he is the Biblical example of man's faith. The true children of Abraham are not those descended from him by blood but those who are children by faith. See John 8 for the opponents saying to Jesus, "Abraham is our father" while He says "Before Abraham was, I AM." In other words, true children of Abraham believe in Me.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 

The two are linked together - Abraham and Jesus. Abraham is the example of faith in these passages:
  • Genesis 15
  • Romans 4
  • Galatians
  • James
  • Hebrews
Thus the true children of Abraham today, 2.2 billion or more, are what God promised - numbered like the stars in the sky.


In Luke 3, Jesus' lineage is traced through Abraham. The Promise to Abraham was fulfilled through Jesus.

This Testament is not a law, but a gift, so Jesus cannot be portrayed as the New Moses, the new Lawgiver, but the gift who brings salvation, peace, and forgiveness.

17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

Paul answers the objection that the Law was needed, since it was added later, through Moses. But the Promise to Abraham can no more be canceled than a Last Will and Testament be set aside. 

The daughter of Conrad Hilton tried to set aside her father's will in court and lost after a long legal battle, because the court ruled - this was your father's final, sealed, and witnessed will for you.

Luther adds this - the Law was given with promises and blessings, and it became the vehicle through which the Promise was brought to light, because no one can obey the Law. Though the Law demands holiness and obedience, that is impossible without the Gospel. Thus to answer this problem in man, Jesus was born of the flesh, under the Law, to give us freedom in the Gospel.

Christian sets out on his journey to the Heavenly City
with his book, the Bible.

In Pilgrim's Progress, the figure of the Law attacks Christian and keeps on hurting him. When he begs for mercy, Law answers - I have no mercy. Again, the dirt floor of the house is swept and swept, stirring up dust, choking clouds of dust. The Law stirs up sin, makes us more aware of sin. The Gospel (water sprinkled on the floor) is the answer. Bunyan said about Luther's Galatians - "It was my most-read book, apart from the Bible." So Bunyan was a better Lutheran than most Lutherans.

18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 

Faith and works are opposites in dealing with salvation, and so are Law and Gospel. When the Law is made a requirement of forgiveness and salvation, the Promise is ignored and rejected. Certainly many today elevate the Law above the Gospel and make Law a requirement for the Gospel - you must be in a cell group; you must give up this or that or you are not a true Christian.

Another rejection of the Gospel is to remove faith and say faith does not matter. Everyone is forgiven and saved without faith. But then they make this preposterous recipe a requirement for salvation, as Walther did - To be really forgiven, you must believe you were already forgiven.

Some are "wonderfully offended" at what Paul writes here, because they trace their holiness to their sacrifices. How can that law obedience be removed by Paul.

The reason the Law was added is easy to see today. In the name of grace, many want to live like pagans, doing whatever they like. They belong to the "Love Wins" family, who place their version of love above everything else. They are always popular leaders because they are blessing whatever people do and undermining faith in the Word. The ministers leading this crusade are pathological liars who are only blessing their own hedonism.

Luther taught the Gospel more and better than most, but he did not give up the natural law concept - that God commands what is good for us. And like Paul, his writings also praise the spiritual benefits of the Law, but not to the point of replacing the Gospel with the Law.



22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

This last verse is a thunderbolt, almost always ignored. The same expression is used in Romans 3 and in Philippians.

Romans 3: 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

The objections of some who oppose Justification by Faith is  - the emphasis is seemingly placed on man's faith. The objectors try to call this synergism and Calvinism, when the two are polar opposites, so we can see they do not know either one - or Luther doctrine itself.

Modern translations have "faith in Jesus," which is fine for many passages, and there is nothing wrong with that expression when we use it. I am going to study this more, but there are three passages in Paul's letters where he expresses teaches justification by faith of Jesus.

That makes perfect sense and explains - from faith to faith - which has puzzled many scholars. Jesus, as a man under the Law, was tempted, so we should never downplay His human nature. Unlike us, He was able to resist all temptation, even the greatest one of all, facing the horrible betrayal and pain of His torture, crucifixion, and death.

As the Gospel of John teaches so clearly, the Father-Son relationship is so close that Jesus emphasized it always in His teaching. The Spirit witnesses to this in John, Matthew, and other places. The Father willed this series of events and the Son in faith followed those commands.If we only think of the divine nature of Christ, we do not think of His faith in the Father's love and gracious will. Therefore, justification begins with the Son's own faith, His obedience that led to the cross, the grave, resurrection, and ascension.

Application
Our greatest temptation is to think this Justification by Faith Alone does not apply to us, because our faults, sins, weaknesses, grave errors, and breaking of the law. Luther observed that those getting the death penalty did not have the luxury of denying their guilt. Their contrition was genuine because of what they are facing.

The Testament cannot be annulled, because God promised and Christ carried out that Promise of paying for our sins and giving us eternal life. What is promised and given to us is also promised and given to those who believe, no matter their status in life. Contrition goes before faith in Christ, because makes people hungry and thirsty for righteousness. 

If forgiveness is proclaimed to the unrepentant, they look at the speaker the way a cow looks at a newly painted fence, blinking, comprehending nothing. The only effect is to harden their hearts, the whole matter Luther addresses in the temptation to go back to paganism, rejoicing in forgiveness without sorrow for sin.