The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Alec Satin, Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Second Sunday after Trinity, 2018. Romans 4, Justification by Faith

 Norma A. Boeckler


The Second Sunday after Trinity, 2018 







Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The melodies are linked in the hymn name. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.
The Hymn #466                 Christ Thou Art
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 #371       Jesus Thy Blood                       

Abraham Father of Faith

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
Norma A. Boeckler

KJV 1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

KJV Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Second Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that through Thy holy word Thou hast called us to Thy great supper, and we beseech Thee: Quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not hear Thy word without fruit, but that we may prepare ourselves rightly for Thy kingdom, and not suffer ourselves to be hindered by any worldly care, 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.



Abraham Father of Faith


Romans 4 King James Version (KJV)

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.

5 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.

Background
Many would say that Moses is the key figure in the Old Testament, but Abraham is the key figure from the Old Testament in the New Testament. Briefly -
The binding of Isaac is a foreshadowing of the Father giving His Only Son, portraying this in human terms, so those who knew this very unusual episode would see the meaning behind it - Christ, the substitute sacrificed on the cross.


  • Genesis 15 - Abraham justified by faith
  • Matthew 1:1; Matthew 8:11
  • John 8 - Before Abraham was, I AM. 
  • Luke 1:73 - The oath sworn to Abraham
  • Luke 16 - Lazarus - In the bosom of Abraham
  • Acts 3:25 - "It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.'
  • Galatians - Abraham as the example
  • Hebrews 11:8
  • James 2:21 - Abraham justified
Paul made it clear in many ways that someone is either justified by works, which is utterly wrong, or by faith.

Justification by Faith - Reason for Hate

Romans 4 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.

The Epistle lesson on brotherly love reminded me of Luther's great insight about the persecution of Jesus. Most are content to wonder about Jesus being kind, generous, gracious, and working miracles - so why was He hated and put to death.

The answer is before us - He taught Justification by Faith in Him, the righteousness of faith. Therefore, He opposed the popular notion of righteousness through works, which the Pharisees represented so well. And don't we have them in droves today?
  1. I refuse to eat meat - carrying a leather purse.
  2. I only stay at hotels where I can open the window. 
  3. He mentioned infant baptism and I walked out of the room.

The term "virtue signaling" is a clever one, because it portrays the modern works-saint so well. The signal is far more important than the works, because that kind of virtue is hard to maintain.

We get the same virtue signaling among the synodocrats, who say
  • I am the fifth generation in this denomination...
  • My father is...
  • The Holy Spirit appointed me as circuit pastor...
Those who deny Justification by Faith necessarily rely on Justification by Works, and their language betrays them.

Abraham was a great leader, the head of a vast enterprise, and a brave man. These are boasts before men, but not before God. The Scripture says that Abraham believed the Promise that he would be the start of a line that led to the Savior of the World, and that faith was counted as righteousness. He was justified by faith in the Christ who was coming many centuries in the future.

This Justification by Faith makes enemies and causes hatred, because it denies the righteousness of works. This is the core Christian teaching. One may boast about Christ or boast about his own greatness. Ask someone about the solution to human problems. If it is the Gospel of faith in Jesus, then they are in harmony with Christ. If they have clever, wise solutions, based on surveys and studies, they are relying on the wisdom of man.

People may reject Genesis 15, but they are rejecting the Scriptures when they do. More importantly, they are shunning the entire New Testament, because Abraham's faith is the message which connects the Old Testament to the New Testament. 

Why do Lutherans bicker about the common cup versus individual glasses; the Christian flag in the chancel; church and ministry; etc. etc. etc. etc. etc? Answer - because they cannot deal with the Gospel, the Chief Article.

Nothing is unclear in the opening to Romans 4,  a chapter which builds upon Romans 3. Romans 1-3 is mostly concerned with condemning all forms of works-righteousness, but 3 transitions into Justification by Faith, including the often ignored Justification by Faith of Jesus (also in Galatians and Philippians). 

Note too that Paul did not write verses or chapters, he wrote formal epistles, which we would call essays today. He observed the basic rules of rhetoric in arguing his points and supporting his arguments. Citing verses alone or even phrases is a sign of literary ignorance and Scriptural rebellion. The Bible is one unified truth, not a collection of sayings to be used creatively or dishonestly.

The Bible is the first hyper-text linked document, long before the computer age. Every verse is connected to all the others. Some of the great Biblical expositors saw this, Luther most of all. But that has been largely forgotten in the fever to make a case for one sect or another. Jesus did not die for the capital fund campaign of a college, and Paul did not raise money for the budget. Paul collected the money for others, for the poor. Synodocrats gather money for themselves, keep it mostly for their salary and benefits (I meant "mission") and impoverish their students for the rest of their lives, with student loans and peevish removals from the teaching or preaching office.




Romans 4:4 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.

I hate to admit this, but fellow Lutheran pastors argue for the entire world being forgiven and saved, saying "He justifies the ungodly."

Paul speaks of working for pay, for a reward, but that is not true justification. Forgiveness comes to him (the individual) who believes in God who justifies the ungodly. That individual alone is counted righteous...and that is without works.

Paul does not speak of the entire world being forgiven and saved. What better moment to bring that up! Yet seminary professors like John Sparky Brenner write about "The Justification of the World," and ones like David Scaer openly mock Justification by Faith. Did Walther and JP Meyer write the Bible, or did the Holy Spirit?

In this little section quoted, once again, forgiveness or righteous belongs to those who believe in God, and Jesus is the Face and Voice of God. The fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him (Colossians).

The sentences that are 6 and 8 emphasize the justification of the individual who believes - verse 7 all those who believe.

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.

How blind someone must be to cite Romans 4 about Justification without Faith when the Apostle teaches Justification by Faith repeatedly in the same chapter.

Paul, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, was anxious to emphasize the Old Testament anchor of the Gospel, but also importance of faith over ritual law. Abraham was justified without circumcision, which should be taught, not justified without faith, as certain clowns and wolves do.

Long before anyone imagined it, this made the Gospel universal, because it did not demand ritual obedience, which is at the heart of all religions - except Christianity.
Abraham became the Father of Many Nations because justification by faith, even though God chose to keep His people together through kosher and ritual law.

As Paul said in conclusion of Romans 3, faith does not destroy the Law but establishes it. Our sinfulness is easily shown in the perfect mirror of the Law.

Note that Justification without Faith fanatics support Antinomianism - no Law, everything is already forgiven, and everyone is already saved. This is the heart and soul of mainline apostasy. To study where this is going, read about the Unitarians, what they teach, and what they advocate - R to X rated.

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.

The Promise was not based upon the Law but faith. This can be translated easily, without kosher. Many base their righteousness on their earnings, or their relatives. One DP said, "My grandfather was..." I was not sure how that made him a better person, but that is one of those strange assumptions, that the institutional church is maintained in its greatness by the descendants of founders, aka Names. We can see where basing the Promise on the Law (of descendants) has gotten the Lutherans. Other denominations are similar. The descendants can do nothing wrong, so the wreckage they cause is excused. "His grandfather was..." spoken in reverend awe and wonder.

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 [counted as] to him for righteousness.



Abraham's faith was also demonstrated in the way he obeyed God in the binding of Isaac. (I see a parallel in letting Lazarus die, because Jesus knew that raising his friend would precipitate His own torture and execution.) What Abraham did was for generations to come - to demonstrate what it means to give one's beloved son, and secondly to know the Son is our substitute, a complex lesson.

Abraham believed he could be a father, and even stranger, that Sarah could be a mother. (Does this shed light on the Six Day Creation? Of course. God's will through the Word is instantaneous, as required.)

Remember Isaac had the nickname of Chuckles because Sarah laughed at the idea. Isaac is close to the Hebrew word for chuckle. "I did not laugh." Angel - "But you did."

The righteousness of God is counted because of faith in the Savior. The blowhards mock this, because they have blinded themselves to the Word - such is the efficacy of the Word for those who obstinately reject it.

Two More Segments of This Argument
I. Romans 4:23-25
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.

Genesis does not record Abraham's righteousness by faith merely for Abraham, that he was counted forgiven. 

But it was also written for us. We are counted forgiven IF we believe on Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Jesus was betrayed into the crucifixion by Judas, to pay for our sins (Isaiah 53). He was raised from the dead to strengthen our faith in Him, by whom we are counted as innocent, forgiven, saved for eternal life.


Summary of Romans 4
                             II Romans 5:1-2
5 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.

Paul did not use chapters and verses, so we can clearly see that the opening of Romans 5 is the conclusion-transition of Romans 4.

The Greatest of Justification by Faith
As Luther said, this Chief Article is slippery because of our human failings. That is our tendency to blame, accuse, hold grudges, and punish in various ways. So we must practice this article daily, setting aside past wrong, real or imagined. 
The perfect mirror of the Law shows us that we are just as fallible as anyone else, so we should not be counting wrongs but counting blessings.
This does not include destructive behavior, which we have to avoid and/or admonish. I enjoyed working with one fellow, but I had to tell him that he had wrecked his life with alcoholism, which was the root cause of his money problems. The sad facts are - it got even worse for him.
And forgiveness does not apply to persistent teaching of false doctrine. There is no love or patience for that, as Luther wrote.
But the greatest call for forgiveness is among those who are closest to us. There we should rejoice in the Gospel and its healing power. 

 Norma A. Boeckler