Friday, October 23, 2009

...the uncompromised preaching of the Reformation

"What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.” (Romans 4:1-8)

Excerpts by Martin Luther
on the chief article of faith of the gospel - Sola Fide

"This doctrine [justification by faith] is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour…. For no one who does not hold this article – or, to use Paul's expression, this 'sound doctrine' (Titus 2:1) – is able to teach aright in the church or successfully to resist any adversary . . . this is the heel of the Seed that opposes the old serpent and crushes its head. That is why Satan, in turn, cannot but persecute it."

"Whoever departs from the article of justification does not know God and is an idolater . . . For when this article has been taken away, nothing remains but error, hypocrisy, godlessness, and idolatry, although it may seem to be the height of truth, worship of God, holiness, etc."

"If the article of justification is lost, all Christian doctrine is lost at the same time. And all the people in the world who do not hold to this justification are either Jews or Turks or papists or heretics; for there is no middle ground between these two righteousness: the active one of the Law and the passive one which comes from Christ. Therefore the man who strays from Christian righteousness must relapse into the active one, that is, since he has lost Christ, he must put his confidence in his own works."

"When the article of justification has fallen, everything has fallen. Therefore it is necessary constantly to inculcate and impress it, as Moses says of his Law (Deut. 6:7); for it cannot be inculcated and urged enough or too much. Indeed, even though we learn it well and hold to it, yet there is no one who apprehends it perfectly or believes it with a full affection and heart. So very trickish is our flesh, fighting as it does against the obedience of the spirit."

"The article of justification and of grace is the most delightful, and it alone makes a person a theologian and makes of a theologian a judge of the earth and of all affairs. Few there are, however, who have thought it through well and who teach it aright."

"Of this article [justification] nothing may be yielded or conceded, though heaven and earth and whatever will not abide, fall to ruin; for 'there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,' says St. Peter (Acts 4:12); 'and with His stripes we are healed' (Is. 53:5). And on this article all that we teach and practice is based, against the pope, the devil, and the world. That is why we must be very certain of this doctrine and not doubt; otherwise all is lost, and the pope and the devil and all things gain the victory over us and are adjudged right."

"The article of justification must be learned diligently. It alone can support us in the face of these countless offenses and can console us in all temptations and persecutions. For we see that it cannot be otherwise: the world is bound to be offended at the doctrine of godliness and to cry out constantly that nothing good comes of it, since 'the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him.' "

"In short, if this article concerning Christ — the doctrine that we are justified and saved through Him alone and consider all apart from Him damned — is not professed, all resistance and restraint are at an end. Then there is, in fact, neither measure nor limit to any heresy and error."

"There is this about the article of grace that if one diligently and sincerely remains loyal to it, it keeps one from falling into heresy and from undertaking anything against Christ or His Christendom. For with it comes the Holy Spirit, who enlightens the heart by it and keeps it in the true, certain understanding, so that it is able precisely and plainly to distinguish and judge all the other articles of faith and forcefully to sustain and defend them."

"The papacy is shaken and shattered nowadays, not through these tumults of the sectaries but through the preaching of the article of justification, which has not only weakened the kingdom of Antichrist but has also till now sustained and defended us against its power."


Nick said...

In my study on this topic, the Greek term “logizomai” is the English term for “reckon/impute/credit/etc,” (all terms are basically equivalently used) and when I look up that term in a popular Protestant Lexicon here is what it is defined as:

QUOTE: “This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.”

The Protestant Lexicon states this term first and foremost refers to the actual status of something. So if Abraham’s faith is “logizomai as righteousness,” it must be an actually righteous act of faith, otherwise (as the Lexicon says) “I am deceiving myself.” This seems to rule out any notion of an alien righteousness, and instead points to a local/inherent righteousness.

The Lexicon gives other examples where “logizomai” appears, here are 3 examples:

Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude [logizomai] that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon [logizomai] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 8:18 For I reckon [logizomai] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Notice in these examples that “logizomai” means to consider the actual truth of an object. In 3:28 Paul ‘reckons’ faith saves while the Law does not, this is a fact, the Law never saves. In 6:11 the Christian is ‘reckoned’ dead to sin because he is in fact dead to sin. In 8:18 Paul ‘reckons’ the present sufferings as having no comparison to Heavenly glory, and that is true because nothing compares to Heavenly glory.

To use logizomai in the “alien status” way would mean in: (1) 3:28 faith doesn’t really save apart from works, but we are going to go ahead and say it does; (2) 6:11 that we are not really dead to sin but are going to say we are; (3) 8:18 the present sufferings are comparable to Heaven’s glory.
This cannot be right.

So when the text plainly says “faith is logizomai as righteousness,” I must read that as ‘faith is reckoned as a truly righteous act’, and that is precisely how Paul explains that phrase in 4:18-22. That despite the doubts that could be raised in Abraham’s heart, his faith grew strong and convinced and “that is why his faith was credited as righteousness” (v4:22). This is also confirmed by noting the only other time “credited as righteousness” appears in Scripture, Psalm 106:30-31, where Phinehas’ righteous action was reckoned as such.

Theodore A. Jones said...

'It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous" Rom. 2:13

For after Jesus, crucifixion God changed the law by adding a word:

"The law was added so that the trespass might increase." Rom. 5:20

So then whom will you crucify in your place to cover your disobedience of this law, the law God has added? Will you crucify the Lord thy God again? For isn't it written "there is made of necessity a change also of the law." For it is by the two immutable things the oath of God and the law God added that each man too must give an accounting directly to God regarding the trespass which caused one man to loose his life by bloodshed.

"And for Your life blood I will surely demand and accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from EACH man too I will demand an accounting for the LIFE of his fellow man, Emanuel."

For the Lord's command, the law, given through the apostles can only be obeyed by the faith of confessing directly to God with your mouth, "Oh God I am so truly sorry that your only begotten son, Jesus, lost his LIFE when he was crucified" and be baptized into this Way of righteousness, the righteousness of God, for the forgiveness of ALL your sins and receive the promise to become one with God. If, by faith in what God has said, any man who will believe and obey this law, the Way of the righteousness of God, he will receive one or more of the gifts of God's Holy spirit to verify what I have taught you is true.