Friday, November 30, 2012

One of These Things Is Not Like The Others...

“We believe that God has justified all sinners, that is, he has declared them righteous for the sake of Christ. This is the central message of Scripture upon which the very existence of the church depends.”  ~  This We Believe, IV:1 

“Never does Paul teach universal justification. For as far as concerns 2 Corinthians 5, the words ‘not imputing their trespasses unto them,’ they are not to be understood universally about all men regardless of faith.”  ~  St. Aegidius Hunnius on behalf of the Wittenberg Faculty (as quoted in T. Hardt, "Justification and Easter").

“In the elect, who are justified by Christ and reconciled with God, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who is the eternal and essential righteousness, dwells by faith (for all Christians are temples of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who also impels them to do right), yet this indwelling of God is not the righteousness of faith of which St. Paul treats and which he calls iustitiam Dei, that is, the righteousness of God, for the sake of which we are declared righteous before God; but it follows the preceding righteousness of faith, which is nothing else than the forgiveness of sins and the gracious adoption of the poor sinner, for the sake of Christ's obedience and merit alone.”  ~  The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, III:54

"[Psalm 130] Verse 4.--But mercy is with Thee, that Thou mayst be feared. [. . .] If God should deal sharply with us, then should our transgressions daily and continually move him to mark straitly, and sharply to punish us.  But he will not mark our iniquities.  This he requireth, that we believe in Christ.  Then will he bear with us, then will he wink at our weakness, and pardon our transgressions, yea, in respect of our faith in Christ, he will accept us as righteous.  [. . .]  Wherefore I will not despair, I will not suffer myself to be swallowed up with heaviness; but I will turn unto the Lord, who hath promised mercy, who also hath commanded that I should trust and believe in him.    Thus David setteth forth in this verse the sum and effect of all true Christian doctrine, and that sun which giveth light unto the church.  For whilst this doctrine standeth the church shall stand and flourish.  But when this doctrine faileth, the church must needs fail and fall to ruin.   ~ Blessed Martin Luther's Commentary on Psalm 130:4, (A Commentary on the Psalms called the Psalms of Degrees, pp. 358-359).

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