Quote from Luther on “certainty”

 a by Paul Eade Art

 

“Let us thank God, therefore, that
we have been delivered from this

monster of uncertainty and that now

we can believe for a certainty that

the Holy Spirit is crying and issuing

that sigh too deep for words in our

hearts.

And this is our foundation:

The gospel commands us to look, not at our own good deeds or perfection, but at God as he promises, and at Christ himself, the Mediator… .

 And this is the reason our theology is certain: It snatches us away from ourselves and places us outside of ourselves, so that we do not depend on our strength, conscience, experience, person, or works but depend on that which is outside ourselves, that is, on the promise and truth of God which cannot deceive”  ( LW 26:387).
 

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This ought be where we look, whether we be Lutherans, Catholics, Reformed, Baptist, Pentecostal, or whatever.

 

 

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Can we ever learn to leave it alone (our works), as proof that we “really are Christians”?

Sadly, for many I am sorry to say, the answer is no.

 

.

 

 

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61 Responses

  1. Gotta love Luther. BTW, I love being on internship. God is at work.

  2. Great quote. Thanks, Steve!

  3. A memory of my father often comes to mind. He grew up RC, and he raised me in the Lutheran tradition even though he didn’t seem to grasp the doctrine. He once asked me how I could be so dog-gone sure that I was going to heaven. I wish I could have told him this quote, or knew which verse to point him to. But, I too, was still looking more at my own heart and emotions than the Word of God when I was in my teens; I only remember feeling so sad that my dad, who took me to church on Sundays, didn’t think he’d make it past St. Peter at the pearly gates.

    Glad to see you posting now and then, Steve. Have missed your inputs.

  4. Thanks 🙂

  5. Steve…..I’m with you on this, BUT….Matthew chapter 7 states very clearly that of all the people who call Him Lord,Lord…..only a “few” are genuine. Who are the ones who are genuine? Those who do the will of the Father. Yeah….our works do not save us….but even the demons believe.

  6. Thanks, my friends!

    We cannot know who the saved are, and we cannot have assurance of our faith by looking at our works. Nope, no way, never in a million years.

    Those He cast out were doing WORKS in His Name.

    Those He rewarded were doing works, but were NOT CONSCIOUS of them. Works were not on their brain…but rather love for the neighbor, with NO self motivation.

    You know any Christians that act totally out of love, with no ulterior motives to gain the slightest little bit for themselves? It might happen…but I doubt it does very often and it needs to happen that way ALL the time for it to be worth anything.

    I’ll stick with Holy Scripture that reminds us that “all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags”.

    What is it to do the works of the Father, anyway? Jesus said, ” believe in the one whom the Father has sent.”

    Thanks, again, all!

  7. Hi, Steve! Great post.

    @ Ike, the demons don’t believe in the Gospel. Their belief is different. As Steve said, the will is to believe in Christ. John 6:40.

    • That certainly clears up Matthew chapter 7. Check it out for yourself. Forget the demons……it says that of all the people who “emphatically” call me Lord, Lord…….of these people….only a “few” are genuine. Whether I like it or you like it……it states very clearly that only “those who do the will of My Father” are genuine.

      If I would go door to door in my town and asked each person if they “believed” in Christ…..guess what? Everybody believes.

      I’m not disagreeing with Steve…..but what does it mean to believe in Christ?

  8. Steve,

    The very fact that men talk MUCH about their works, even under the guise of “proof” PROVES we love ourselves and do not believe Christ alone. Oh we will ‘tip the hat to God’ just like the Pharisee does in his prayer, thank God for it, for His help, but in the end the old Adam loves his own vomit and like a dog goes back to it, even using Scriptures to justify it. Men will choke their good works down your throat just so they can prove, to themselves, they are saved one way or another.

    Again, we see here the devil’s whore at work! Recall how fallen human reason makes judgments (i.e. how do I know I’m saved), it does so by its sight, by means of its experience via its senses it makes judgments. It, therefore, measures the metrics it thinks show forth that IT is saved. Reason ascends to “believe” (false faith) AFTER it sees this way. It, like the evil thief on the cross will not and does not want to suffer the cross and cries out, “if you are God, truly, get us off of these crosses”. In other words “if God has worked in my life savingly, then these proves will show forth so”. Theology of glory = human reasoning about things theological.

    Contrary to that is true saving faith. Faith has to do with “things unseen”. ALL articles of faith are invisible to reason. Faith hangs on the nude Word alone (Word and Sacrament), in opposition to what it sees. It “sees” the invisible thing that the Word holds forth as certain promise! All articles of faith, including our “good works” are invisible. This is why the true sheep confess, “When did I do anything for you Lord.” And the goats, the false sheep confess, “I did this and that in your name”. The later, says Christ, will be told, “depart from me you evil workers I never knew you.” Faith knows it does good works not because it sees them and can measure them, like the devil’s whore reason does, but because it is told it does them by the Word. You see here again it is the NUDE Word ALONE that faith clings to in this, just like the sacrament. This faith, thus, is as Paul says in Gal. 5 in that form of relaxation that yields the “love, peace, joy…etc…” that the false faith garnered by reason is not (regardless of the outward form it comes under). The Pharisees, the devil’s religion, TIGHTENS men up, Christ’s Cross relaxes them! Note how those that came to Christ seemingly did nothing spectacular whatsoever and Christ called it great faith, while the religious of the time were quite busy doing good works nearly endlessly to prove they were elect, in, saved, etc…and Christ calls them of their father the devil. Note, very well mind you, the good work of the woman who anoints Christ’s head with an expensive oil because she’s looking at Him alone as her salvation, that her sins are forgiven by Christ alone period end of story and Christ praises this good work; while the devil’s whore, reason, is working in Judas who piously claims that they should have sold this oil for money to give to the poor. BEWARE of the church yard duty devil!

    ALL articles of faith hold forth the Cross to necessarily offend reason on two accounts (said Luther). The first is that it calls for reason to come and die (note how that works in the sacraments!), the second, it holds forth an invisible promise to reason. This offends reason for it feels the first to be an insufferable and endless reality that shall never end, the second, the promise, it ‘sees” as never coming. Faith is just the opposite, it feels the first, the evil death to suffer (reason gone, the Word alone) to be but a very short and flighty thing that shall indeed pass soon, and the later, the promise as the eternal reality. So real to faith is the invisible Word (that which is invisible to reason) that it is visible to it and the REAL reality; while that which is visible (to reason), the metrics sensed, is so UNREAL and invisible to faith that it is not a reality at all but a fake dispersing façade at best.

  9. Two short but good ways to think of good works:

    1. The Gospel does not give one the POWER to do good works (ala. Other Protestantism’s doctrine on this issue, third use of the law (Calvinistic interpretation), false Lutheranism (e.g. pietism)). It rather FREES one to do good works, it puts good works in their right place.
    2. Good works won’t save you, but they won’t hurt you either.
    The key is the freedom provided in the Gospel, the forced “power” that many looking at this upside down does. The later is false faith, false christ (antichrist), false spirit and false gospel.
    A finer way to look at this is by this example (beware, the old Adam can even turn this into a thing to do, but we can look at the example non-the-less):
    In the brain of a man view:
    A man is standing there and hears the absolution that HE in particular is forgiven says Christ, today at that moment all his sins. It’s both a reminder and an ever present reality spoken to him. This causes him to believe (faith comes by hearing), trust nakedly in Christ alone. He is IN a state of faith, his state of being. AT that time all he is doing is a good work. Every breath he draws is a good work, every heart beat is a good work, every organic motion about him is a good work and it grows.
    This is the point of Jesus’ analogy that good fruit can only come from the (created by the Word of the Gospel) good tree and cannot in any way come from the bad tree (the tree trying). No matter what the external appearance is. Thus, an apple tree from seed planting through its entire growth is unto “appleness”. It is in its very DNA from inception. So it is from the inception of faith. Pietist, the huffers and puffers of good works are like a thorn bush who says, “I’m going to grow apples from myself”. And so it begins, in utter vanity, to do so. It procures for itself a fruit that looks like an apple for all external intensive visible purposes, but its actual work is really nothing more than a thorn bush and thorns. Its DNA is thron-ness. The later is the way the pietist and antichristic religions either of rank non-christian or that which parades itself around as Christian operates.

    These antichristic (in the place of) religions who procure the Bible and Christian language for themselves to use will always THRUST their alarm upon the true Christian in order to murder true faith and murder true good works, they in this way seek to steal faith’s (true faith) good works. True faith will never surrender itself nor its good works to these false good works and false faith, in fact faith draws the death sword against this false faith every single time. When false faith forces this tightening constriction onto true faith and thus attempting to murder true faith and true faith’s good works (under the loosening freedom of the Gospel), true faith will NEVER surrender them. True faith will always squash under foot, like its Lord, false faith’s false good works (i.e. the serpent’s head).
    And thus one does see that true faith, like Luther said, does nothing but busy itself with good works, so freeingly and flowingly that its very state of being exudes them like well gushing endlessly fresh water.
    False faith does apparent good works (as reason can view them) under a constricted compulsion upon the conscience; in a list like enumerating manner; looking and observing and measuring them constantly and in a staccato fashion. These are the thorn bushes.
    True faith does true good works (as only faith can view them) under a relaxation non-compulsory way upon the conscience; without enumeration whatsoever, without looking at them (faith cares for Christ alone); and in an endless constant emanation of welling up water due to its state of being.

    • “The Gospel does not give one the POWER to do good works (ala. Other Protestantism’s doctrine on this issue, third use of the law (Calvinistic interpretation), false Lutheranism (e.g. pietism)). It rather FREES one to do good works, it puts good works in their right place.”

      I want to emphasize the personal pronoun “I”. Ezekiel 36:25-27…..”Then “I” will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; “I” will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, “I” will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and “I” will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I” will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

      Sound like more than just “freeing” us to do good works?

      • False teachings are forever more attempting to rob true saving faith of true good works, we will never give in to such, in fact we will die fighting against this false religion at every turn, nor will we give the right hand of fellowship to such doctrines of demons…EVER!

        So Ike, provides in his utter confusion of law and gospel. Ike as usual you are a digging with the wrong end of the shovel. The handle is for holding. You could not have picked a more against you verse in all of Scripture. Our religion’s are entirely antithetical and in utter war with each other. Those are just the simple facts of the matter.

        This is a baptismal passage of course (Ezekiel 36:25-27). And you really don’t understand the law, it requires of necessity spontaneity, that is in the very heart of the law. You do understand (not really I’m being rhetorical here) that when you hear the law say “do X” (anything) you have already fallen into mortal/deadly sin and are condemned by it to wrath, hell, etc… Even without ever lifting the first finger to do what it says. The very fact it has to say to you “do X” is not it saying, “you ought, therefore go and do” (thank you Pelagious and Erasmus), but rather “you ought, but you have not and will not because – here it comes the very purpose of the Law and the meaning of “being UNDER the Law” – you WILL NOT to do it without being told to do it”. Thus, the Law accuses by not stating as Erasmus thought, if its written do for surely God would not write something we could not nor be able to not do – but rather is exegeting US and describing our state of being.

        Ezekiel is thus describing the FREED heart by the Gospel, nothing could be more clear in these passages. For at the head of the law is the first command of all “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt out of the land of bondage, you shall have no other gods beside Me.” (“I” will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols – same thing). The cleansing comes in the cleansing of the guilty conscience, the “washing with water” (baptism – NT), the “I forgive you (God) for Christ’s sake which makes the conscience clean, the dirty conscience or in the words of Ezekiel “I” will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. For a one’s god is that in which one puts all trust for good things and flees to in time of distress (good works, the power to do them, for most people is their god).

        Thus, the prophet Ezekiel is speaking so very clearly not of the POWER to do good works (ala. Other Protestantism’s doctrine on this issue, third use of the law (Calvinistic interpretation), false Lutheranism (e.g. pietism)) – but rather being FREED to do good works, it puts good works in their right place.” That FREEDOM of spontaneousness IS the beginnings of the NEW heart of flesh. So that what is done is done without need of being told to do so.

        Ike, this discussion is hardly new with you and is really tired and old. You may pimp your mistress reason and works around all you like in hopes of picking a religious John, but neither I nor any orthodox confessing Christian is going to look at your temptress’s legs. Until you see yourself in real need of the Gospel, a REAL sinner, not just a pretend sinner, you will not see the Gospel nor desire it. You really need more Law right now, more Gospel is simply harmful to your soul and hardening your heart more and more.

        So, you go ahead search for the fact that you are saved by evidences of your good works and that thus you are forgiven and thus assured; keeping in mind that NOWHERE in Scripture are good works ever to be imperfect but perfect in every way. No imperfect work is proof or assurance of a single thing except damnation. No imperfect work will ever enter the kingdom of heaven. They must be perfect in every thought, word and deed, what is to be done and avoided, AND they must be utterly and purely spontaneous or else they are pure hypocrisy and finally they should never cease from today until the day you breathe your last breath and die. So freely do them perfectly and ceaselessly so without faltering at any point in thought, word and deed – THEN you shall have treasure in heaven.

  10. “The key is the freedom provided in the Gospel, the forced “power” that many looking at this upside down does.”

    Should read:

    “The key is the freedom provided in the Gospel (versus) the forced “power” that many looking at this upside down does.”

  11. See how false faith and false good works remains stuck in producing apparent good works (as reason can view them) in this manner:

    1. under a constricted compulsion upon the conscience;
    2. in a list like enumerating manner;
    3. constantly looking and observing and
    4. measuring them constantly and in a staccato fashion.
    This false faith finds incomprehensible the freedom to do good works and impenetrably unintelligible a true faith that does nothing but continuous good works thus:
    1. under a relaxation non-compulsory way upon the conscience;
    2. without enumeration whatsoever,
    3. without looking at them (faith cares for Christ alone);
    4. and in an endless constant emanation of welling up water due to its state of being.
    When false faith hears of “freedom to do good works” it vainly thinks no good works are being done, all the while good works are constantly emanating from the true faith such that they are issuing forth ceaselessly. It is so bewitched by the devil that bedazzled by what it staccato enumeration of good works are, like a crow drawn to a shiny worthless trinket, it says, “these (worthless shiny beads) are of value”, and sells its very soul for nothing. False faith is like a blinded cave animal that has lived in darkness its entire life and has no vision whatsoever, such that when it emerges from its murky dwelling place out into the sunlight that is constant (true faith’s good works) it babbles in utter blindness and deadness and ignorance, “What’s all this light I hear about going about, I don’t see a thing, let me tell you what light is all about.”

    It, false faith, is so bound to Satan it will call Satan’s good works freedom and true freedom via Christ no good works at all. It calls good evil and evil good. It so trips over the foolishness of God, the Cross, it is as C S Lewis once said (paraphrased), “like an ignorant child making mud pies in the streets, it cannot even fathom a holiday at the sea.”

  12. Is this Steve’s blog or Larry’s??? Anyway……..When God gives you that new heart you obey Jesus. Jesus is pretty clear that obedience is a mark of discipleship:

    Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me” (John 14:23-24).

    Disregarding the commands of Jesus indicates a rebellious spirit. Does not sound like a new heart, but the heart of stone.

  13. It’s still mine.

    “Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect”

    What do you do with that, Ike?

    Inviting your enemies over for dinner?

    I’ve got news for you. We ALL have a rebellious spirit. That’s why He had to come and die for us. We just don’t seem to want to get with the program.

    So He instituted a new program, called ‘the gospel’.

    Thanks, Ike.

    • Larry,

      Your writing style reveals several fallacies: Name Calling, Poisoning The Well, Non Sequitur, Ad Hominem. But some of this may be due to my inability to express my thoughts clearly. I’m also guilty of fallacy in my writings. So let me apologize and try once again to convey my thoughts on this topic…

      Apart from Christ, mankind is dead in sin. Fallen man is unable to save himself or contribute to his/her salvation in any way. Even our righteous deeds are like filthy rags. Fallen man in his own strength is unable to come to Christ apart from the Father enabling and drawing that person (John 6:44,65). Salvation is only because of Christ’s work alone. When the law is given to fallen man, it serves to increase his sin and condemnation. But thank God that He sent His only Son to fulfill the law on our behalf. Jesus did what we could not do, and when we come to Christ in faith, Jesus takes our sin and credits us with His righteousness.

      Now when God saves a person through faith alone in Christ alone, God not only forgives our sin, but He also frees us to do good works (Eph 2:8-10). True saving faith is a gift from God and will express itself in these good works (James 2). Saving faith equips a person to obey God’s commands and rest in His promises. Those who savingly know Jesus will also follow Him as Lord. The baptismal verse of Ezekiel 36:25-27 expresses the truth that the person born again has a new heart that will observe God’s ordinances and will walk in His statues. This is not only freeing us to do good works, but has the force of graciously enabling and causing us to walk in His ways.

      Our assurance is based on the effective blood and righteousness of Christ as revealed in the gospel. The Spirit of God gives us inner witness to our adoption and the fact that we are now children of God. The Christian who is living in sin cannot experience this assurance. And the person who claims to be a Christian, yet persist in a carnal lifestyle should examine himself to make his calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). For there are many many people who claim to believe in Jesus, but do not posses true saving faith.

      Ike

  14. “Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect”

    What do you do with that, Ike?

    I am not going to try and respond on Ike’s behalf, but I wondered if I might ask you a question about this statement.
    Aside from the fact that the connotations that we attach to the word perfect are not a perfect match for the meaning of the word that Jesus actually used here (either the Greek one or the likely Hebrew one behind it); do you think Jesus said this as an instruction/command for those who would follow Him or is it something else?

    • He meant perfect, plain and simple. Jesus here is loving the man. But his loving is not the way we perceive it. He’s loving him by preaching the law to him so the man may see his real need and come to grace. In this way, the pure preaching of the Law is love. It is the only way to get one stuck in a false way of salvation, the way of the world, to see the futility of their hidden works righteousness (just like God said to Cain, “do better…”).

      In this way a man is shown his futility by his own mouth. It is like a loving father sometimes loves a recalcetrant child. You say to them, to show them their weakness, “Ok then, go and do.” Eventually they fail enough at it they realize, “I need my loving dad’s (or mother’s) help.

      Thus, those stuck in the way of works righteousness may outwardly deny they are (I recall many times this myself, and still do, its not something we escape from in this life). The Law can then be said to us, “Ok then, be perfect as you Father in Heaven is perfect”, and then you and try that for a while. Eventually, like a child you break down and come home to the Father for the grace. Which is the heart of God ultimately.

      Thus God uses His alien work to acheive His proper work. And thus the wrath of God acts in a good and loving way, to drive us to Christ.

      It’s one thing to sit here and analyze this as we are, another thing to have it proclaimed to you so that it operates on you rather you (I mean all of us) intellectualizing it and examining it like bug under a microscope.

      I hope that helps.

    • Vast portions of the Christian church today in America seek assurance by making holiness of life unnecessary. If holiness of life is not necessary to get to heaven, then an unholy person can have assurance that he will get there. They don’t just deny that perfection is not required for entering heaven (which is true; we do not attain practical perfection in this life); but they go beyond that and say that no degree of obedience or holiness or purity or goodness or love or repentance or transformation is required for entering heaven. They say that if God required any measure of practical obedience or holiness, it would do three terrible things: 1) nullify grace and 2) contradict justification by faith alone and 3) destroy assurance.

      But that is not true. The Bible teaches that none of those things happen when the biblical necessity for holy living is rightly understood. There is a glorious assurance in the Christian life! But it is not found by denying the demand for holiness.

      • The more Ike talks the more he displays the difference in our religions, that much is crystal clear. To put it another way, we reject his god as being God but rather the god of this world.

        “They don’t just deny that perfection is not required for entering heaven (which is true; we do not attain practical perfection in this life); but they go beyond that and say that no degree of obedience or holiness or purity or goodness or love or repentance or transformation is required for entering heaven. They say that if God required any measure of practical obedience or holiness, it would do three terrible things: 1) nullify grace and 2) contradict justification by faith alone and 3) destroy assurance.”

        And this is precisely the satanic religion Luther warns of in which loves of God are reversed. The fact of the matter is that grace is not a substance or power (Rome/protestant heterodoxy) but nakedly the forgiveness of sin. The love of God (HD) loves the unlovable and thus at the Cross God reveals Himself true Creator. It is true no unholiness will enter heaven, thus the pure imparted righteousness of Christ alone, and that means ALONE, is the clothing whereby men enter the kingdom of heaven. God does not, as popular enthusiast teachers, especially of the baptist sect, preach does not look forward to some change in a man and thereby in the final analysis justify him. The forgiveness of sin does not await faith to become a reality, but rather is an already accomplished FACT for everyone. The only damnation that occurs is to reject this (the unforgivable sin by its nature, not degree, to reject this is to reject the ONLY forgiveness there is). Men do this in two ways:

        1. By display of rank unholiness toward overt sin. It’s not the sin that’s damning but the sin is exhibiting that one does not trust the fact of forgiveness.
        2. The way of Ike, by a display of holiness (this is worse than #1 and why Jesus said the prostitutes and tax collectors will see the kingdom of heaven before the Pharisees). The good works external action are not evil, but the trust and assurance garnered by them and not the nude Word and Sacrament, like the man in number 1, exhibits that one does not trust the fact of forgiveness.
        Thus they, especially the later, use holy law and made up laws of men distilled from Scripture, including the label of “good works” to withhold from themselves the true grace of God. Cheap grace and expensive grace are really the same demonic doctrine, an attempt to purchase salvation, the price tag just changes. Both deny Christ utterly, one is as guilty as the other. Christ only indwells in real sinners. He came to call sinners to himself not the righteous and not pretend sinners.
        The #2 man is in a worse condition for his is truer form of idolatry under the cloak of exterior white wash.
        Thus, both the overt sinner and false saint are displaying the same thing and creating for themselves the hell and god they really desire from their fallen hearts (belly gods), except they will call heaven and God and bible. They do not, either one, see that God hides (article of faith) His righteousness in sinful beings. This the foolishness of God against the wisdom of the world. True worldliness and flesh is both categories of men #1 and #2.

        Thus, in utter contradistinction to Ike’s religion, which is not ours: It is VERY true that perfect obedience is required for entering into heaven. In fact it is NOWHERE found in Scripture that it is not or the least anything less, but the utter contrary; namely absolutely and utterly PERFECT and not one iota less is required to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Practical perfection” is NO WHERE in Scripture, heaven requires PERFECT obedience period without a single qualifier. To say other wise is to not understand any scripture whatsoever, the Law or the Gospel. Thus the PERFECT flawless obedience AND holiness AND purity AND goodness AND love AND repentance is in FACT required for entering heaven and this we have in Christ alone through pure imputation, I am His sin as He is my holiness. Thus, it is true that there is no degree of obedience or holiness or purity or goodness or love or repentance or transformation required for entering heaven on our part. Hence the freedom to do good works and putting them back in their proper place and perspective. Without faith (first) all is sin, says Paul.

      • In fact to posit “They don’t just deny that perfection is not required for entering heaven (which is true; we do not attain practical perfection in this life);” in light of “practical perfection” is true antinomianism and legalism, both in the final analysis are the same. That is to say an legalist is an antinomian and an antinomian is a legalist. They do this by denying perfect holiness needed and create for themselves this fictional house pet law they’ve tamed usually in the form of “we don’t attain it here in this life”. In this way the deny the Law as LAW (the antinomianism) then turn around with the newly created domesticated law, which is not the Law, and say, “this is needed for heaven” (the legalism).

        All confusions of Law and Gospel lead to this, all unhinging of the Word and Sacrament (God cannot lie) produces this type of religion. And so they go about blindly searching for God like pagans.

  15. Ike,

    It’s Steve’s blog who graciously allows solid debate here and of which I’m merely a visitor by his kindness.

    When I call your religious ideas antichristic (and similar) its not name calling (ad hom. Or poisoning the well) but fact stating. You and I do not share the same religion, it’s that plain and simple. You base your assurance not on the objective blood of Christ, but upon your good works and that is as plain as day. You contradict yourself constantly (such is heterodoxy):

    “Our assurance is based on the effective blood and righteousness of Christ as revealed in the gospel.”

    BUT then comes the back door gnostic split between the Word and Spirit, robbing with the left hand what the right hand gives:

    “The Spirit of God gives us inner witness to our adoption and the fact that we are now children of God.”

    Then the bomb overthrowing Christ,

    “lifestyle should examine himself to make his calling and election sure”.

    See you STILL need to hear more Law. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    I’ll play your calvinistic theology which I WELL understand.

    You say “OUR assurance is based on the effective blood and righteousness of Christ…” is that, Calvinist, would that be effectual blood or sufficient blood?

    To continue in sin, hmmm, what does that mean I wonder? What’s the division there. Surely you are not saying you don’t sin and that you don’t sin daily, and that you don’t sin hourly, and that you don’t sin minute by minute, second by second, else you fall under John’s warning that “the truth is not in you” if this is your claim. So “continue in sin”, that’s a curious enthusiast statement. You are kind of stuck there between a rock and a hard spot. According to your doctrine if you continue in sin you cannot experience this assurance nor have it and are not elect, BUT if you say do not sin (which would be in continuous fashion second by second) then John tells you the truth is not in you at all.

    At this point the usual MacArthurian response, per his “The Gospel According To Jesus” (really “Another Gospel According To The False Teachings of John MacArthur”), one would begin to split the hairs on what “kind of sins” in continual motion this means. Which is a PERFECT Roman Catholic system, the invented system of mortal/venial sins that began developing the indulgence system in turn. As good calvinistic protestant/baptist, however, you will not label “mortal/venial” (but a rose by any other name) but the list will be made if only in the fuzzy subjective. A “mortal sin” (deadly sin falling away from grace – RC = a proof sin that one is not elect – Calvinistic) is thus some “highly immoral thing” committed over some nebulous subjective period of time that arises to the wet finger in the air level of “continuous”. And on the other hand the “venial sin” (not a deadly sin falling away from grace – RC = not rising to the level of a disproving sin that one is not elect – Calvinistic) are those that are less outwardly offense “slip ups” that have an equally nebulous and subjective non-continuous time frame that you will assess as to yourself as not being not elect. The ONLY difference between that religion and Rome’s is that Rome’s is on paper and very prescriptive and in that since objectively enthused, as to where Calvin/baptist religion is not so much on paper but a kind of subjective wet finger in the air by the local churchmen or self and less specifically prescriptive but “up to the judgment of the more local whims enthused.

    That’s very different than Luther’s turn on mortal/venial in which he well identifies, using Rome’s words against them, that a mortal sin (deadly and separates one from God) is only that sin which one does not confess as deadly and that venial sins (forgiven) are those confessed as mortal. A very different religion than Rome, Calvin and the rest of the world.

    Thus, you say you are sure you are in the first person particular (You Ike) are forgiven based upon “Our assurance is based on the effective blood and righteousness of Christ as revealed in the gospel.” But this is not universal. And so what you need to know is “am I Ike” elect, because, lets face it if you are not elect then you are not saved and if you are not saved you are not forgiven your sins and your sins remain, and if you are not forgiven you are damned to hell, the wrath of God and the Law forever.

    And thus YOU must examine not Bob Christian down the street but YOU IKE. And so you will amass a likely nebulous list or fuzzy “I once was this but now I that better” direction in your life that to you at first glance comes to you and says, “hmmm, must be elect”. Yet the Word of God crushes all such rocks and gords for it says “the heart is desperately wicked and deceptive above all things, who can know it”. So you either have to call that Word of Law a lie or pretend that somehow you have risen such that your own heart has not deceived you (which is in turn, again, calling the Word of God a lie). For you will now assess that verse, due to your doctrine, as the pre-converted man and thus by the very things in question, your fine pious life, you dismiss this Law that has come to exegete YOU. Thus, blind to the fact of your circular reasoning and not realizing that the heart is SELF deceptive and not a thing whereby you can stand outside yourself and say, “Ah yes, I recognize it, that MY heart is deceptive above all things” (which is to NOT recognize self deception of the heart).

    Furthermore, all your pious talk and pious good works that allegedly prove you are elect and Joe down the street are not are over thrown. Not one single one of them cannot not be overthrown by an examination of the Word of God, especially motivation. In fact the motivation to search them out is self motivated and condemned by the Law itself.

    Thus you are back to square one about Ike’s election. For the heart is desperately wicked and deceptive above ALL things says the Word of God, your own prescribed self examination is self deceptive and shaky sand. And because Christ only died effectively for the elect and sufficiently (which is nothing since this leads to hell anyway) for others, you cannot appeal to Christ’s blood for you apriori. If you do, you are lying about your doctrine plain and simple, you must be elect first and so determined and it is here where your true Calvinistic assurance is found. Because THAT and not Christ is ALL you talk about. Your real assurance is thus in your secondary proofs, your works (or whatever you wish to call them, a rose is a rose by any other name, and Christ’s blood (according to your doctrine) is merely a secondary thing. Your religion is thus this, “IF there is life and salvation, THEN there is forgiveness of sin”. A perfectly Roman Catholic or Islamic religion by any other name. Your religion is NOT “Where there IS forgiveness of sin, there is life and salvation (Luther).

    So you need to examine YOURSELF before you PRESCRIBE to others how they might know they are elect and thus saved. You must pass your own criteria flawlessly, then you can come and talk your game. Else you are a hypocrite of your own doctrine, plain and simple, a “do as I say, not as I do” religionist.

    • Then the bomb overthrowing Christ,

      “lifestyle should examine himself to make his calling and election sure”.

      See you STILL need to hear more Law. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

      It’s a shame that you couldn’t have straightened Paul out over this before he went and got that put into Scripture and confirmed by God and all.

      5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. -2 Corinthians 13:5-6

      And maybe Peter would have known better than to do it too:
      5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

      10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-11

      Give those guys some more LAW and straighten them out Larry, they are “overthrowing Christ” according to you.

      • WAAAAAY ahead of you Jeff, waaaaaaay ahead of you. As usual Jeff you miss the forest for the trees, in which both Paul and Peter presuppose this faith already. You’ve changed nothing between your religion and ours. As usual these two text prove you wrong, again. Your false usage of Peter slits its own throat by the same quote when Peter says so very plainly;
        “…add to your faith…” Ahhh yes the freedom to do good works. Of which you very conveniently leave off the rest of Peter when he also CLEARLY says, “…for this reason…”, looking backwards to the very previous two verses, “3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he HAS GIVEN US HIS VERY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES, so that THROUGH THEM you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

        Aaah the very freedom to do good works is so very precious!

        Even early at the start of the epistle a mere two more verses back you forgot, so very conveniently, Peter writes, “1Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
        TO THOSE WHO THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF OUR GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST HAVE RECEIVED A FAITH AS PRECIOUS AS OURS:
        2GRACE AND PEACE BE YOURS IN ABUNDANCE THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND OF JESUS OUR LORD.
        You leave so very much out so very very very conveniently!
        Paul by saying in the very same letter and others not too few times:
        Romans 14:23
        But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
        1 Corinthians 2:5
        so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

        1 Corinthians 15:14
        And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

        1 Corinthians 15:17
        And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

        1 Corinthians 16:13
        Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

        2 Corinthians 1:24
        Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

        2 Corinthians 5:7
        We live by faith, not by sight.

        2 Corinthians 13:5
        Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
        Romans 3:27
        Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.
        Romans 3:28
        For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
        Romans 4:13
        It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

        Romans 4:14
        For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless,

        Romans 4:16
        Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

        Hebrews 11:6
        And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

        So you go right ahead and find out your election via your works, I’ll stick with “I am baptized” because those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. I’ll stick with Christ’s Words in which He gives me His very body and very blood to eat and drink given and shed for us for the FORGIVENESS OF SIN. And I will not surrender one iota of this faith to you nor will I surrender the good works, nor shall any of us do this, given us in the glorious freedom of Christ. Attempt to rob us of our faith and good works as you wish you will never take them period.

        And make sure when you are determining your election via your good works, that your heart is not self deceived – however that can impossibly be done.

        Apply your religion to yourself and stop preaching, “do as I say and not as I do”.

        I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, as it stands, we are NOT of the same spirit, not one teeny tiny bit. I will never worship in your church, you will never be my teacher/preacher, I will never put myself under your authority, I will never ascend to your word as truth, I will never ascend to your belief system as it is, I will never affirm your religion, never your spirit, never your gospel which is no gospel at all…never and I mean that in the absolute sense. My confession is against your confession.

      • In regards to the host of passages you just quoted I can only say, Amen and Amen!

        Apply your religion to yourself and stop preaching, “do as I say and not as I do”.

        You keep leveling this accusation at me, but I invite you to find one instance where I have told anyone this. I won’t hold my breath, since I have never said it or intended to say it.

        I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, as it stands, we are NOT of the same spirit, not one teeny tiny bit.

        Sorry to hear that, “because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” You can stand in judgment if you want, but it is a dangerous place to judge the heart of another. I don’t judge yours. I believe you at your word of confession.

        I will never worship in your church, you will never be my teacher/preacher,

        I am perfectly OK with this too. Based on your attitude in our discussions, I wouldn’t want the headache on a consistent basis (please realize this comment is tongue in cheek)

        I will never put myself under your authority,

        If only you could hear me preach even once or would ever understand what I write, you would realize that I don’t want ANYONE under my authority. I want everyone to be under the authority of Christ and Him alone. If you are there, I am quite happy with that.

  16. As usual Jeff you miss the forest for the trees, in which both Paul and Peter presuppose this faith already. You’ve changed nothing between your religion and ours. As usual these two text prove you wrong, again. Your false usage of Peter slits its own throat by the same quote when Peter says so very plainly;
    “…add to your faith…” Ahhh yes the freedom to do good works. Of which you very conveniently leave off the rest of Peter when he also CLEARLY says, “…for this reason…”, looking backwards to the very previous two verses, “3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he HAS GIVEN US HIS VERY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES, so that THROUGH THEM you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

    Aaah the very freedom to do good works is so very precious!

    Even early at the start of the epistle a mere two more verses back you forgot, so very conveniently, Peter writes, “1Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
    TO THOSE WHO THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF OUR GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST HAVE RECEIVED A FAITH AS PRECIOUS AS OURS:
    2GRACE AND PEACE BE YOURS IN ABUNDANCE THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND OF JESUS OUR LORD.
    You leave so very much out so very very very conveniently!

    I forgot that you complain when I quote too much Scripture and when I “don’t quote enough.” I didn’t leave them out for convenience sake, rather for brevity. Taking verse four that you quoted once again:

    4Through these he HAS GIVEN US HIS VERY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES, so that THROUGH THEM you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

    It says that we “escape the corruption caused by evil desires,” but the very name of this blog is premised on the idea that we don’t ever escape the corruption. It is a constant refrain here from many commenters here that we are “trapped in sin.” Which is it? You brought this verse up. I am more than happy to examine it. Are we trapped in sin or freed from it’s bondage by faith?

    • Jeff you are using an old baptist trick here in which you say, “good I don’t want you under my authority but Christs”. It sounds pious and right but its false. Why so? Because by your explaining your doctrine and attempting draw men to it and putting the spiritual pressure about doubt into, your trying to draw men to your authority.

      Baptist and reformed do this all the time. E.g. Christ says so plainly that a complete idiot could grasp it, “this is My body/blood”. But when a Christian says that the enthused say, “Now here’s what it means”, “this is not my body/blood”. And never once honestly say the reason one should depart from the very words of God (Christ).

      All heresies function like this, all of them.

      • Larry,
        You make me smile and cry. You are the only person I have run into who can take being told to go to Christ as the authority and call it heresy. There is no trick here, baptist or otherwise. Read your Bible and believe what you believe in good conscience before the Lord. When I am wrong (and it does happen), I expect the Spirit will straighten me out because God promised that He would. I know the same is true for others.

        P.S. For what it’s worth I will say this again to you. I hope you are more kind in your speech and rhetoric in person than you come across here (you may be). I am used to it by now(and can take it in small doses), but the language you use and the tone you adopt in all of these discussions are caustic enough to drive many away from the cross of Christ. Truth can and should be communicated with grace. It is imperative to do so. I can assure you that I have never stopped to consider a single point of Lutheran doctrine that you have espoused in your typical manner here or in other discussions (I frankly skim most of your comments now because they all follow a pattern I can easily recognize, not to mention their length). Some of Steve’s comments on the other hand have certainly given me reason for thought and more reflective study. I would seriously like to see you able to communicate the gospel that you hold so dear in a way that people can hear it without all of their defenses and barriers being activated. Give it some thought.

  17. “Are we trapped in sin or freed from it’s bondage by faith?”

    Both.

    We are in bondage to sin, as long as we inhabit our old bodies…and we are freed of the condemnation of that sin by the promises of Christ in His Word and Sacraments.

    Romans 7 is good for helping to understand this.

    Thanks.

    • That is great, but what happens when Romans 8 declares that we are set free from the law of sin and death?

    • …which delivers us from the jaws of the devil and makes us God’s own, suppresses and takes away sin, and then daily strengthens the new man, and is and remains ever efficacious until we pass from this estate of misery to eternal glory.

      … that he may ever be found in the faith and its fruits, that he suppress the old man and grow up in the new. For if we would be Christians, we must practice the work whereby we are Christians.

      This is exactly the kind of thing I would say (I think I have said something to this effect before in fact), but I didn’t come up with this one. What do you think? Yes or no?

  18. Exactly Steve! That is the very essence of the true simul Justus et peccator. And that’s the paradox and stumbling stone fallen human reason cannot see. Reason functions, even if only intuitively and not formerly more from Aristotle than Scripture. It will use/quote/proclaim its understanding of Scripture and stands over top of Scripture. Thus, heterodoxy views this simul, more akin to salt and pepper thinking they align with scripture (Romans 7) and Luther (more or less). Thus they don’t understand that the very trying IS the deadly sin, even if its all outwardly good. It matters little if one is doing it to “get saved” (Rome), “stay saved” (arminian), “prove saved” (Calvin), it’s the same fallen principle merely being shuffled around and under the guise, most often in the later two, of “good works”. In the last two cases there is plausible deniability because they will say to the “test question” for the grade, “justification by faith alone”. They say, “amen”, as if agreeing, but they function in reality in unbelief not an “amen” of faith. It’s like a fish that says “amen” to flying but he remains in the water a fish. The fishes confession is just “mouthing the words” of birdness, while he remains in reality a fish. ALL the examination verses of the Apostles are to examine this TOO not just, am I a overtly bad guy/gal in overt and obvious sin (which includes this but not ONLY this). The problem with false pious faith, which is not faith, is that it thinks its faith and being obedient to God. E.g. a thief might for a time justify his sin, but at length it becomes obvious, he stole. So no fool at length would stand before God and say, “see I stole, I prove I’m elect”. However, MANY deceived will say, “look at the direction of my changed life that proves I’m elect”. These are the one’s Jesus warns of that will confess on the last day, “Lord did I not…” and he will say, “depart from me you evil workers I never knew you”. Now the error in this is that many, especially of the protestant school, read that as meaning only those who thought they could “work there way to heaven” (overt works righteousness), not realizing the warning includes those who put their assurance of even election in such. The righteous in Christ, Jesus makes clear, will confess that they do not know that they ever served Him.

    The Reformers, meaning Luther and those of the Lutheran reformation well understood the simul, which is just a restatement of Romans 7, to mean (in the English) “sinner in REALITY (100%), justified/righteous in HOPE (or expectation)”. Here again we see the division between faith and how it sees the invisible ONLY on the Word of God ALONE and fallen reason sees by what it actually sees and constitutes a false simul Justus et peccator (or false Romans 7 reality). Remember reason makes judgments by what it experiences (and this does not mean Pentecostalism experiences only, but experience period of human life) via the sense and even emotions and thus deals with the visible things. Faith, on the other hand makes judgments on NUDE Word of God (which includes the sacraments where the Word really is), things that are invisible. Thus, our righteousness is hidden in Christ. The paradox, the tripping stone again being the Cross for reason! In sin/sinners in REALITY, God hides HIS righteousness which is in HOPE (certain expectation). That certain expectation, is the reality in which faith lives.

    Thus, we see again what happens to fallen human reason, it is utterly offended for this cross is held out to it and it hates it. Again on two accounts: First, it finds intolerable the reality of no real righteousness now in reality it may measure (how fallen human reason judges/sees). It sees this as an unending intolerable evil. Second, it considers the promise (the IN HOPE) as nothing and pretty much a pie in the sky fairy tale. Both are calling good evil by the way it judges/sees things. This is both an utterly incomprehensible and unbearable and intolerable cross held out to reason that offends it and says to it, “you must die”.

    Faith, on the other hand, sees the Cross and that the sinner in REALITY is but a fleeting thing already dead it just doesn’t realize it yet and the promise of what is now beheld in hope only of both imputed righteousness and that true resurrection of the reality of realized righteousness in which we will know sin in REALITY, THEN, no more. We cannot even FATHOM what that will be like, but it must be a relief that is beyond all understanding! Reason always sees grace as some form of INFUSION of power and not an IMPUTATION purely declarative of a resolution in the heart of God.

    And this is the reason ALL false religions either entirely false or impurely false (heterodoxy), be it Rome, Calvin, Arminian, Baptist, Islam, Secular, etc… ALWAYS hold out works somewhere in the formula of salvation, either overtly in just being righteous, coming into faith, at faith, maintaining faith, proving faith (alt. being/coming into/at/maintaining/proving salvation/rebirth/election/conversion). Its just a matter of how overt and prescriptive it is versus implied and subjective.

    The irony I see here of a few that comment is that their posts are nearly thought for thought of Trent’s very anathema’s of the Gospel. Rome made these anathemas of the Gospel in the VERY light of saying that man is saved (forgiven of sins) without works EVER and without changed life EVER, not even as proofs, its an ALREADY accomplished FACT. It is in that light that Rome anathemized and became officially apostate in her anathemas of the Gospel.

    This is confession of many protestants, though they would admit it knowing it is of Trent, it is exactly their confession in principle:

    “If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 12).

    “If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24).”

    Furthermore, Rome’s “faith formed by love” is not all that different than protestantism’s “faith proved by good works”.

    Because the reality is this: Let us just suppose one is not believer and his/her either rank sin or pharisiacal legalism is proof of this. Then what! Will he/she then be made a believer by suddenly modifying his life? No this folly is obvious and the obvious folly of those who preach, teach and declare such as if by saying, “you better do good works to prove you are elect or else”. Or else what? Your lost? Their doctrine becomes what it obviously is, “You may be lost so get busy working”. And that is the hidden works righteousness of false/heterodoxy. It hides in the process, it does not say, “work your way to heaven”. It says, lyingly, “justification by faith alone” so as to put on a sheep’s cloth. Then once it draws one in it then preaches, “prove your faith/election/salvation is true by your works”. It most notable just how little they speak of Christ and Him crucified (contra Paul and all the Apostles), maybe give some lip service here and there, but speak voluminously of good works (their real god).

    It is not as if we, Lutherans, don’t speak of good works. In fact we much of them, in this very post we have. But disagreement still arises. Why so? Because really the issue is not AT ALL about good works, that’s why they are not hearing us when we speak most gloriously of them and that they are not staccato like (their way) but continuous (which continuous is more by the way than staccato). Rather the issue lay not, truly, in the issue of good works. What is really the issue that is the real sore spot is that theirs ultimately is works righteousness in a most subtle way and ours is not. We don’t just confess “justification by faith alone” we exude the reality (something they do not do). We are not afraid of saying, “God may cause a man to do NO good works whatsoever so that at last He may save His very soul”. Because we are not afraid nor ashamed of the Gospel in reality and not just in an answer to the test question, “justification by faith alone”. And those that cannot say this are in reality ashamed of the Gospel and secretly blame it for sin. AS IF justification and the Gospel so 200 proof spoken is the cause of sin! Such is utter blaspheme of the Cross of Christ. As if when Christ says and means “I forgive you” without works ever, even if you get worse, as if that Gospel is the CAUSE of sin! What is such false preaching but a denial of total depravity, bondage of the will, original sin and shifting the blame to the very Word of God! So frightened that the Gospel will not do good works they deny the very word of God which to contrary FREES a man to do truly good works! They live by sight (reason) and not by faith and this reason is the very enemy of faith which Christ condemns numerously and why he says the kingdom of God belongs to infants and children and adults must become like them or they will NEVER enter into it. Children have less developed reason, the very enemy of faith, and thus do not so egregiously war with the Word of God.

    • It was a miracle when the Lord caused an ass to speak…..and I think more of a miracle when He causes one to be silent.

      Larry….you speak much truth….but you also twist Scripture and twist what others are really saying. God raises a dead sinner to life… period. If we are dead…..we are dead. I never seen a dead person do good works.

  19. And you say I’m the one making ad hom. attacks.

    No Ike it is you who twist the scriptures as to what they are really saying. You don’t even know what spiritually dead person is (that’s why you disdain the sacraments and thus the gospel giving it lip service). What you just said is so obviously asinine. You’ve never seen a dead person do good works. So you somehow assess a spiritually dead person to be dead by some nebulous personal criteria you’ve invented by some concrete criteria you’ve developed, or perhaps its just fuzzy feeling you get around them, it matters little that they externally do good works or even lead a very moral life which many hypocrites and pagans do (which scripture NUMEROUSLY testifies to), but somehow you on one hand have concrete criteria that says “X is the works list that rises to the level of prove that Ike and so and so are elect and Bob is not”. But Hypocrite X and Pagan Y may do the very same things externally and different in no way from elect person Z, but somehow which you just said they cannot do.
    A man breaks his leg and cannot walk in a car wreck. Two cars stop to help. Two men one a believer and one false believer or unbeliever (either way) help get him out of the car. But the Christian’s work is somehow outwardly good while the other’s doing the exact same thing is not. I suppose you assess this because during this there is white glow about the Christian as he pulls the guy’s torso from the wreckage but the hypocrite/unbeliever pulling his legs out from the fiery wreck has red glow about him. Your statement is THAT cartoonish.
    You really are a hypocrite, a “do as I say not as I do”. Your issue is not with good works but with works righteousness period. We are NOT at all of the same religion, not at all.
    Here’s a conundrum for you, here are three people one is a Christian one is a pagan and one is a false Christian (two of these, you are supposedly not seeing any good works done):
    Person A: You visibly see: All his/her life helps his neighbor out, lives a very moral life.
    Person B: You visibly see: All his/her life helps his neighbor out, lives a very moral life.
    Person C: You visibly see: All his/her life helps his neighbor out, lives a very moral life.
    You say you are elect and saved, and this (lest you be an utter hypocrite) you must know by your own criteria. Don’t go tell me you believe in Jesus’ blood for you for your assurance because that’s precisely what you do not believe ALONE but that there must be this tangible other thing that is for assurance. Thus, tell me what are the good works or evidences in your life that you, IKE, are elect? And given your other contradictory criteria for the outward good works you’ve done, might there be some kind white glow or warm feeling or sound angels singing about them that one might know that what one’s eyes is seeing is a good work from a living elect person sense one’s eyes cannot really discern the difference between outward appearance of a good work of equal performance. What separates your outward good works from some altruistic pagan do gooder doing 1000 times the externally appearing good works you are doing, and more continuously? Does his smell of sulfur and yours of lilacs?

    Because this is what you say others should do, so you should do it else you are a hypocrite. I want to know how you are elect. You examine others, I’m examining you your way. How might I discern you from a Mormon who lives clean as the driven snow? How might I discern you from a hypocrite living clean as can be? How do I know you are not lying, how do YOU know your heart is true?

    Here’s your religion from your very own mouth: “God raises a dead sinner to life…”. I.e. “where there is life and salvation, then there is forgiveness of sin”.

    Luther/Scripture: “Where there is forgiveness of sin, there is life and salvation.”

    Same words yet diametrically opposed religions.

  20. Ike I’ll make it simple for you, real simple. Tell me how you know your heart is true? Shouldn’t take more than a sentence or two, a paragraph at the most.

    After you do that then we can talk further.

    • Larry,

      Without domesticating these verses below….I give you one possible answer. The Apostle John wrote these verses to a church that was troubled with their status before God. The answer John gives to these believers is that their lives will demonstrate that they belong to God. He clearly tells us that we can know our heart is true, and that we belong to God by keeping his commandments:

      “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:3)

      “but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:5-6)

      “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” ((1John 3:10)

      “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (1John 3:19-24)

  21. Jeff,

    See that’s the very nature of the trick. You say you don’t draw men to you but to Christ, but then you its all about you. For example you said “I wish you could hear me preach…”, then you through Christ to sanctify that statement. No preacher of Christ drawing men in reality and truth to Christ says that. I know many and have heard many preachers and preachers of Christ don’t speak of “I wish you could hear ME preach…”. They rather point to Christ.

    Many of the things I say hear are nothing more than what Luther and the confessions say. The confessions don’t fuzzy language. They use the same language, heresy, false teaching, etc…so does Paul. That’s the problem today, no clarity and thus everybody fuzzes over false doctrine as if it’s a tiny thing. Scripture no where speaks this way, the confessions no where speak this way, Luther no where speaks this way. If I say something as simple as “the doctrine of believers baptism is a Satanic doctrine”. I neither being mean spirited nor am I lying. If I didn’t say that then I’d be both lying and a hypocrite. Luther in the debates of his day was too perplexed over this, all the Lutheran reformers where, they were perplexed that at least in principle their opponents did not speak equally back in such language to them turning them, as it were over to the devil saying “heresy”. The one thing I do appreciate about Ike, (and I mean this) though he and I exchange and debate very with vigor is that AT LEAST Ike has doctrinal principle right and he is willing to stand on what he confesses to be true and simultaneously say to me, “yours is heresy of the devil, etc… (in the ways he states these things)”. It is like H. Sasse once said, the serious RC, the serious Calvinist, the serious Lutheran, the serious baptist who stands on their doctrines as THE truth and the others as false (and says so), the group listed, are AT LEAST closer together in the truth as far as the principle of understanding the Word of God and thus doctrine is not some non-essential thing we can disagree about and still say “unity in Christ”. Other wise the Word of God is communicated as uncertain and that is above all things the highest original trick and sin of the devil.
    You see a baptist should look at a Lutheran and say, “Your doctrine is heresy, we are not of the same spirit too.” THEN, we’d be in the right frame of mind on this though opposite. If a baptist takes his doctrine serious, it IS what he confesses, he should make no mistake about it, we are confessing that baptism regenerates, we eat and drink every single Sunday the very body and blood of Christ. And make no mistake about it, giving worship that bread/body and wine/blood, and knowing and believing that the forgiveness of sins AT THAT MOMENT are being given by Christ/God Himself, as real, more real than the blue sky outside of the church doors. If a baptist thus takes his doctrine serious, he SHOULD say with great vigor “heresy, blaspheme, of the devil”.
    And see that is the problem when this is not done and we pretend we are together otherwise. Because THAT (we are together) is not the truth but a covered up lie. Many Lutherans today fail to see this. Taking the previous concept in the last paragraph from the Lutheran point of view; one cannot really believe and be espousing “justification by faith alone” and not speak of the sacraments (for the sake of brevity here) per the confessions on them outlined in the BOC. One cannot say “justification by faith alone” then say “believers baptism”, and thus we cannot say “we are of the same spirit” period.

    For built INTO any given serious confession, be it baptist, reformed, Lutheran, RC is the ENTIRE system of belief and the very definitions of each thing. It’s why a true Reformed Calvinist says, for example, “No baptist IS Reformed, no Baptist is a Calvinist…not John MacArthur, not John Piper, not Charles Spurgeon, not one”. Because built in behind all the doctrines of each on the sacraments (ordinances to use the baptist language) is the entire doctrine confessed. It’s why a baptist, from a Lutheran confessional perspective, cannot be taken serious when he says, “justification by faith alone”. It’s why Ike for example cannot agree with us on the Scriptures concerning salvation and good works…WE DON’T agree AT ALL. And he should say what I say is false and I should say what he says if false.

    It is thus not enough nor right to simply say, “these are points we disagree upon but we agree upon Jesus”. That’s utter contradiction both in reality and saying the Word of God is a contradiction. This is not true at all. The truth is, if we may from a neutral point of view setting up the right principle upon which to ponder these things, is that these things ARE ESSENTIAL to the point of the difference between heaven and hell, eternal life and eternal damnation, true God and true devil. When doctrine, and that means the sacraments, are NOT being warred on, one sure thing is certain, NO GOSPEL is being fought for or espoused. The Gospel’s very presence brings IMMEDIATE fury from the devil and those whom he inflames against it, and that very much includes false heterodoxy. Thus, when the issue over the sacraments or the role of good works come up, IMMEDIATELY, if the Cross is really in the conversation, one side is really giving it and the other is really resisting it, IMMEDIATE battle breaks out. The Cross does not bring peace among men, it brings strife because of what it is saying and what fallen men really believe. Thus, when a Lutheran says, “I don’t care if I am elect or not I am baptized and that suffices (God cannot lie we’d expound a bit)”, that’s Gospel, that’s the Cross of Christ, IMMEDIATELY the devil will send a warring response against that. Then if the war remains, the persecution (by false doctrine or sword, either way), the Cross is occurring. If peace comes, (by consolatory “we really both believe Jesus alone/justification by faith alone”), then the Cross is disappearing. The later, peace, is REALLY the greatest persecution that can be brought against the Cross, Gospel, church, believer.

    Last issue, which I’ve cleared up before. I have never said it is wrong for you to quote Scripture either in short or at length. As I made abundantly clear before when this issue came up; it is not the quoting but the miss use of it. Jesus said to the Pharisees who took seriously and knew the Scriptures back and front, “You search the scriptures and think that by them you have life, but it are these that bear witness of Me.” And that’s the way you are quoting them. E.g. You quoted Peter and Paul to support your doctrine of works via the good works proof route, “You search the scriptures and think that by them you have life…”, oddly enough we look at the same Scriptures and found Christ alone, “…but it are these that bear witness of Me.” And that’s the fundamental difference whether one quotes a verse or an entire book. This is at least the third time I’ve cleared this up, so dispense with the pseudo piety that “Jeff is quoting Scripture and Larry doesn’t like it.”

    • For example you said “I wish you could hear me preach…”, then you through Christ to sanctify that statement. No preacher of Christ drawing men in reality and truth to Christ says that. I know many and have heard many preachers and preachers of Christ don’t speak of “I wish you could hear ME preach…”. They rather point to Christ.

      I don’t know if you deliberately try to twist what I say or just do it out of habit at this point. When I said that, I said it from a desire for you to know my point of view better as far as this discussion goes, because you seem to be unable or unwilling to understand anything I say. That statement said nothing about people “looking at me instead of Christ.” I will continue to dialog with Steve, but I see no point in trying to talk with you.

  22. Ike,

    I’ll ask again, “how do you know your heart is true”. How are you keeping the commandments? There’s something John is presupposing you are not, he does not presume them apriori to faith. If you say so then you are proclaiming works righteousness plain and simple. You are blinded here to your circular reasoning.

    Thus, I will assume you would agree with me that PRIOR to any commandment keeping is faith which is the assurance of salvation and forgiveness of sin to brief. This is why at the head of the Law is the first commandment, “I am the Lord your God…” (which has Gospel in it that says I forgive you already). And in every instance of the Law, the things being kept, unto the neighbor (you will note this in the OT, Lev. For example) when a “love your neighbor” command is given you will find it ends in “I am the Lord your God…” (again the head, the first commandment or better Word, which presupposes salvation ALREADY and thus forgiveness of sin ALREADY whereby there is faith and whereby there is assurance ALREADY). All of this is what John says and presupposes, for without faith, John knows Paul said, ALL is sin.
    Thus you cannot come to these, good work or the Law apriori to faith as you are doing. Therefore, the issue if faith first. That you must determine. How do you know you are ALREADY forgiven (you Ike not the nebulous guy out there you are picking on, you yourself, your doctrine applied to you yourself, take care of your log first then help your brother remove his splinter). Thus, how do you know your heart is right? I.e. How do you know you have faith? How do you know God has forgiven YOU in particular.

    Let save you some trouble. Do not answer this in the general. We are asking a particular question, in the realm of your (not our Lutheran) doctrine. Applying your doctrine to yourself.

    How do you know your heart is right? I.e. How do you know you have faith? How do you know God has forgiven YOU in particular?

    • Larry,

      Biblically, we draw our assurance from 1.) God’s promises, 2.) the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, 3.) and the witness of the Holy Spirit.

      1.) God has promised to keep and preserve His people until the very end. We rest on the promises of God (not our own strength). When we come to faith, we surrender any notion that our works are the basis for our right standing before God. Ike knows his sins are forgiven because of Jesus’ finished and effective work on my behalf and God’s promise to apply that work to all who come to Him.

      2.) I also have assurance because I can see the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Biblical writers repeatedly ask us to confirm our assurance by reflecting on the transformation that has occurred in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. The book of 1 John was expressly written for this reason. Those who have faith in the finished work of Christ and are resting in His promises as the foundation of our assurance, are also called to to reflect on the transforming work of the Spirit in our lives. And John explicitly and undeniably identifies those who belong to the people of God by their behavior.

      3.) “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God….you have received the Spirit of adoption. When we cry “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God….” (Romans 8:12-17). All believers receive the witness of the Spirit when they are set free from the power of indwelling sin at conversion. The Spirit keeps bearing witness to our spirit that we are now children of God.

  23. Jeff,

    Larry and I want so badly for you to see this.

    We may seem to you (at times) to be over critical of you and your theology. We are not judging you, but we do have a right to be critical of the message you espouse.

    We want you to freed of the law project, which kills, and liberated, totally liberated by the gospel, which brings true authentic life.

    I know, you’ll say you are and have been liberated by the gospel, but whenever you add a drop of the law (to make people better) to the pure, fresh, clean water of the gospel…you ruin the glass of water.

    Separating law from gospel so that each does it’s particular purpose is hard to do, even for many Lutheran pastors.

    We (Larry and I) have both been where you are now. We see now what we could not before. The law kills. Period. (theologically speaking). Yes, it also has the purpose of keeping us in line so that chaos does not reign here on earth. But the law forces us to look inward, and that is where the problem lies.

    The gospel gives to us, completely, what the law demands of us. God handles everything. Yes, we keep the law, imperfectly when we do, but it ought never be our focus. Our focus always ought be on what God has done for us. Using the law as a vehicle for Christian improvement always places the focus back on ourselves, and then the bad things start to happen. Despair. Pride. Self-righteousness. Phoniness. Phariseeism.

    We don’t lift a text out of the Bible and say, “See here…it says we must DO such and such”. We take a text from the Bible and lift from it the gospel. So that people will be forgiven, freed, called to new life. We preach the gospel, not the text.

    This is radical. This is different. We know there aren’t many who will hear this and believe it. But we still throw it out there. Every once in a while someone does hear it. When I did, I knew I ‘was home’. I know that Larry feels the same way.

    Maybe we ought leave it here and move on. Hoping that the Lord will use our poor words for His purposes, and where we are in error, that He will forgive us.

    Thanks, Jeff. God bless you.

    – Steve

  24. Jeff,

    You err greatly in this, I CLEARLY understand what you are saying that’s why I’m saying we don’t agree AT ALL. NOTHING could be more clear on this issue. ALL of it boils down to the Gospel and the clarity arises within the realm of sacraments. That’s why the REAL war over the Gospel lay there because its linked to the war with the Word. In a summary way of saying this IF we agreed on the Gospel we WOULD agree on the sacraments, period. One cannot maintain orthodoxy concerning anything Christian if one does not maintain orthodoxy on the sacraments. It is as Sasse said, and even Calvin recognized this, how one goes on the sacraments goes the rest of their theology/doctrine, view of Christ, etc… It matters little that you can affirm in one way “justification by faith alone”, because built into that is either false doctrine or true doctrine. Even Islam says Allah (god) is sovereign, gracious and merciful. Calvinism says God is sovereign, gracious and merciful. The papacy says God is sovereign, gracious and merciful, etc… But what is built into those words is shown most keenly at the true points of the articles of faith, the Trinity, the two natures, the incarnation, justification and yes of necessity the sacraments.

    Its critical to recognize that the Apostles and Christ Himself warned beware of false teachers, false christs, other spirits, other gospels. Not the buffoons (which it does include) like Joel O. or Bennie Hinn, but those who will say “justification by faith alone” but then preach otherwise and inverted Gospel or Christianity that is not those at all.

    One cannot say “justification by faith alone” or assurance is found in the Cross of Christ out of one side of one’s mouth, then construe a rationalized doctrine via reason that says “oh by the way only the elect did Christ die for all else are fooling themselves”, so you need to find your assurance that you are elect in your “faith” or by extension “good works that prove said faith”. This is why the terrorized conscience of Arminian/Wesleyans/baptist, Calvinist/puritans/baptist, and Roman Catholics in the end analysis is the same. It’s the same because all are in the end espousing the same false doctrine, an inverted Christianity, and thus the consciences of such are terrorized by it. It’s why I point out Luther’s quote, “Where there is forgiveness of sin there is life and salvation” as opposed to the heterodoxy directional arrow, “where there is life and salvation there is forgiveness of sin”. Both of these are EXACTLY the same words, but one is true Christianity and the other true Satanic religion (i.e. beware of other christs, other gospels, other spirits – the same language inverted Christianity = the devil’s religion). It is said that rank Satanism speaks biblical things backwards, like the Lord’s prayer and such to show its repulsion of the Christianity, upside down crosses and such. This is not a bad example visual of the problem here, EXCEPT, that hidden satanic religion does the same thing to hide itself in order to spring itself on people. They reel them in with the right sounding, “justification by faith alone” (sheep’s clothing) but then slay them with “believers baptism”. They bait them with “assurance in Christ’s blood” then murder their souls with “assurance of election via faith/good works”. They satanically invert everything and make a life giving scalpel an instrument of murder. They take, “Where there is FORGIVENESS OF SIN, there is LIFE AND SALVATION”, extract the two out flip the two, , to make, “Where there is LIFE AND SALVATION, there is FORGIVENESS OF SIN”, and thus a sheep’s cloth over a ravenous wolf, a human face with fine soft and alluring disarming female hair on a locust whose deadly murderous lions teeth are revealed when its too late.
    So I clearly know your point of view because you do do that, you make it VERY clear. I’m disagreeing or condemning something I don’t clearly understand, I CLEARLY understand you. My compliments to you on that point as you are VERY CLEAR when you speak concerning doctrine. I’m not offended by a “misunderstanding of how it comes across via electronic posting”. You can call me an ass, a jerk and anything you like, and that will not bother me in the least. That does not offend me. Really it does not at all. Hell I’ll even agree with you on those points. What offends me, LET ME MAKE THIS CRYSTAL CLEAR, is YOUR doctrine. Hearing your preaching, would not clear that up any better.

  25. Steve,

    The other day I presented the other side in my posts of how the BoC does acknowledge works as indicators of faith. We disagreed on this for the first time.

    I was expecting I was going to be taken off your blogroll like David did, and I am actually surprised I am still there.

    Thanks for not taking things personal.

    God bless,

    LPC

    • LP,

      Don’t forget that the BoC is NOT Holy Scripture.

      And try not to turn the BoC into a paper Pope the way so may Baptists and Evangelicals do with the Bible.

      – Steve

  26. LP,

    Yes, we disagreed. I don’t know anyone with whom I agree with all the time on every matter.

    I surely do not agree with Luther, or Melancthon on everything they ever said, and I do not agree with everything I ever said, too.

    My goal is to try and help people (myself included) to trust in the external Word, alone. This is a tough thing to do, as we always want to curve everything back in on ourselves.

    Anyhow, I am thankful to have you as a friend and brother in Christ.

    His blessings to you, as well,

    Steve

  27. Ike,

    I can see this is going no where and probably will not.

    First, you attempt to answer the particular, how Ike nows, with a general…but then you give no particulars just generalities. At some point you have to measure in your theology that thing or group of things or life change montage that rises to that perfect metric that you have some how deemed, “Ike is elect”. But you don’t you just keep speaking in the normal generalities. Nor can any amount of life change, whatever those personal metrics are, can you predict that some time in the future you might fall away and thus prove all along you were reprobate.

    Second, your method is not scriptural but rather circular reasoning thus: Only the truly converted (reborn/elect) can do good works, as you said, “I’ve not seen a dead man do good works” (which by the way presupposes those particular metrics you keep avoiding for yourself whereby you make such an assessment), then I know I’m truly converted (reborn/elect) by good works. In short: Only the reborn do good works, I know I’m reborn because I do good works – pure circular reasoning.

    Third, you deny outright the voice of Christ that so very plainly says, “take and eat this is my body given FOR YOU…take and drink this is the new covenant in My blood shed FOR YOU THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS”. Also all the baptismal passages “for the promise is to you” etc…”given the very name of God which IS salvation, forgivness, etc…”. That men turn this down, fall away etc…proves nothing but what Christ says. Namely that his word goes out and does what it will and that is to forgive sins period (in Word or baptism or the LS the visible Word). If some men reject that, either upfront or fall away later, then that simply makes proves the point about the Word of God that men are in FACT bound of will and in no way accept the Word of God. When others accept it that simply proves the FACT that the Gospel is the power. More simply put when men reject the Word (the Gospel) or fall away from it (again in Word or baptism or the LS the visible Word) – it gives open witness to the Gospel’s TRUTH and when men believe it – it gives open witness to the Gospel’s POWER. Therein lay the paradox and Cross to fallen human reason. As the Apostle said of the OT and circumcision, what if some men did not believe, so what, God is true though every man is a liar (paraphrased).

    One of the things the enthused religions miss is that at the end of the day the spoken Word of Gospel (as opposed to the visible Word in, with and under the media or substance of water, bread and wine) is ITSELF “in, with and under” a media or substance of earthly creation; namely human vocal cords, vibration thereof, compression of mixed element air waves, the energy of the compressions traveling through the created media finding its resting point on the ear drum of the receiver from the transmitter and then translated via learned language skills (another creature) to the receiver’s brain. Through these earthly elements – no less than water, bread and wine – the truly divine Word of God, in real time, is yet transmitted. In such faithful preachers to the Gospel (pure Gospel) is God talking, just like water, bread and wine. God has so cloaked and clothed Himself in these beggarly earthly elements to “speak” to us His forgiveness of sins. Thus, when in for example a baptist church the preacher preaches mingle law and gospel yet he baptizes, the baptism is obedient to the Word and transmits the Word of God while the wicked preacher is preaching his own belly (i.e. belly god or “heart”).

    The Christian, and faith, only set their faith, hope (certain expectation) and assurance (which is redundant to the first two) on the nude Word of God whether it is spoken Word (absolution), water (baptism) and bread and wine (the body and blood of the Lord FOR…). Thus, these truly trust ALONE in the Word of God and foist forth above all things the Word. This is the true and highest worship of God, to receive His forgiveness of sins and believe it.

    So, Ike, since you will not really answer the question I’ll just leave it at that. There’s really nothing more I can say.

    Yours,

    Larry

    • Seriously Larry, could you try any harder in misunderstand and misrepresent what I have written?

      The particular: “How do you know God has forgiven YOU in particular?”….. is that we have assurance of faith & salvation based on the finished work of Christ on the cross and His promise to keep all that come to Him. In this regard, I agree with you that we receive and rest in Christ and His promises by the means God has given us….the Word, Baptism & the Lord’s Supper. I have repeatedly said this is the foundation and hope of our assurance. God has promised to forgive and adopt all that come to Him through Christ. It is a firm and certain knowledge of God’s grace towards us which is founded on the truth of the freely given promise in Christ and proclaimed in the gospel.

      But there is not an absolute discontinuity between the objective and subjective poles of knowing one is “saved”. The bible unapologetically encourages believers to confirm our faith by reflecting on the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Scripture alone describes “the fruit of the Spirit”. This evidence is not a metric I have set up (another Larry fallacy). So once again to be clear: The foundation of our assurance is Christ’s finished work as delivered in the Gospel, and yet our assurance of this truth can also be confirmed and strengthened by the transformation wrought in us by the Holy Spirit. This is the testimony of 1 John and much of Paul’s writings. Those who belong to the people of God will manifest a new direction in life.

      Now of course, Larry, there is all kinds of qualifications to what I wrote that cannot be addressed in a blog comment. I ask you not to put words in my mouth. But simply note that Scripture explicitly and undeniably teaches both.

      Ike

  28. Seriously Ike, I do not. There’s a reason you and I do not agree, it’s not “just because we like to argue” as so ignorantly is often being stated.

    “that we have assurance of faith & salvation based on the finished work of Christ on the cross and His promise to keep all that come to Him. In this regard, I agree with you that we receive and rest in Christ and His promises by the means God has given us….the Word, Baptism & the Lord’s Supper. I have repeatedly said this is the foundation and hope of our assurance. God has promised to forgive and adopt all that come to Him through Christ. It is a firm and certain knowledge of God’s grace towards us which is founded on the truth of the freely given promise in Christ and proclaimed in the gospel.”

    There’s not a single sentence there I could disagree with as written and on face value and if I’m not missing something. Yet, you are saying in with an under riding paradigm that reads it differently than a Lutheran would understand what you mean. I.e. I could read everything you said there within the Lutheran confessional paradigm and say, “I agree”, but we have not gotten to the essence and fact that even though you could say these things we don’t really agree with the real content behind them. Now you say “I agree with you that we receive and rest in Christ and His promises by the means God has given us….the Word, Baptism & the Lord’s Supper”.

    Let us prove this by your own words, an answer to this:
    1. Who is to be baptized?
    2. What is received actually and really?
    3. In the Lord’s Supper what is received actually and really?

    We shall find at the end we have two differing religions not agreeing with each other but utterly antagonistic to each other. That’s why we don’t commune together and why heterodoxy churches don’t actually have the Lord’s Supper. That’s why this is in fact the very battle for the Gospel and nothing less.

    This is why I say we can speak a lot alike but we are not saying the same thing at all. The issue on the sacraments are utterly essential, the battle for the VERY Gospel itself. This is why we DO NOT have the same religion. That’s not me being “mean”, I’m stating a fact and not calling you a name. And you need to know this fact and that I state it as a very and true fact.

    Ike there’s nothing I’d love more than to be in accord/concord with you on this, it’s not personal in any way. It’s not me wanting “to win an argument”. But the facts are the facts, and until we recognize this we cannot move toward each other. You must understand your issue on the sacraments is a condemnation of the very Gospel. You should ponder why Sasse would say “as men understand the sacraments (rightly or wrongly) they will necessarily so go with the rest of Scripture (and that INCLUDES good works).

    So if you really want to know just why we cannot agree on the issue of good works, though verbally we both may speak much of them. You need to examine the issue of the Sacraments. This is why Luther said many men speak much about faith and good works (think they understand them) and know nothing whatsoever about either one (even though they think they do and speak voluminously on them).

    You need to ponder that, look into it more.

    Yours,

    Larry

    • Larry, could we be making progress in our discussion? Let me give you my understanding of the sacraments, and I look forward to your thoughts on what I write. We may not be on the same page, but I believe we may be closer than you think.

      “Let us prove this by your own words, an answer to this:”

      “1. Who is to be baptized?”

      Baptism is God’s work alone and part of the conversion process. In Scripture, baptism is intimately associated with faith, salvation, forgiveness and receiving the Holy Spirit. Since infant baptism is never mentioned in Scripture, and infants cannot repent or “appeal to God for a good conscience”, and faith is never divorced in time from baptism, I suggest that Baptism is for believers alone.

      “2. What is received actually and really?”

      Christ and all His benefits

      “3. In the Lord’s Supper what is received actually and really?”

      Christ and all His benefits

  29. Luther writes concerning good works:

    We ought first to know that there are no good works except those which God has commanded, even as there is no sin except that which God has forbidden. Therefore whoever wishes to know and to do good works needs nothing else than to know God’s commandments. Thus Christ says, Matthew xix, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” And when the young man asks Him, Matthew xix, what he shall do that he may inherit eternal life, Christ sets before him naught else but the Ten Commandments. Accordingly, we must learn how to distinguish among good works from the Commandments of God, and NOT FROM THE APPEARANCE, THE MAGNITUDE, OR THE NUMBER OF THE WORKS THEMSELVES, NOR FROM THE JUDGMENT OF MEN OR OF HUMAN LAW OR CUSTOM, as we see has been done and still is done, because we are blind and despise the divine Commandments.

    Then Luther lays the head of all good works:
    “The first and highest, the most precious of all good works is faith in Christ, as He says, John vi. When the Jews asked Him: “What shall we do that we may work the works of God?” He answered: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent.” When we hear or preach this word, we hasten over it and deem it a very little thing and easy to do, whereas we ought here to pause a long time and to ponder it well. For in this work all good works must be done and receive from it the inflow of their goodness, like a loan. This we must put bluntly, that men may understand it.”

    Here Luther points out what John who wrote 1 John, and along with Paul presupposes faith via baptism. Faith is the necessary head of all good works per the commandments of God which alone identify truly good works, of which is the head that includes the Gospel that God IS their God and IS their salvation ALREADY, “I am the Lord your God Who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of bondage, you shall have no other gods beside of Me.” Here it is crucial to grasp what is a God to you, true or false. In its simplest form God or a god (false one) is that in which you expect from all good for you and to which you flee in time of need and distress. And that most specifically means your eternal destiny, salvation, election, conversion, assurance, etc… Without this very head at the head of all the commandments, which alone identify truly good works, all is sin. This is why in Lev. when the Lord God is giving the second table of the law to them again in how to love their neighbor in various ways he concludes each section, “I am the Lord your God” (the first commandment = the Gospel = I’ve saved you = you are Mine = John vi).

    Luther continues:

    “We find many who pray, fast, establish endowments, do this or that, lead a good life before men, and yet if you should ask them whether they are sure that what they do pleases God, they say, “No”; they do not know, or they doubt. And there are some very learned men, who mislead them, and say that it is not necessary to be sure of this; and yet, on the other hand, these same men do nothing else but teach good works. Now all these works are done outside of faith, therefore they are nothing and altogether dead. FOR AS THEIR CONSCIENCE STANDS TOWARD GOD AND AS IT BELIEVES, SO ALSO ARE THE WORKS WHICH GROW OUT OF IT. NOW THEY HAVE NO FAITH, NO GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD, THEREFORE THE WORKS LACK THEIR HEAD, AND ALL THEIR LIFE AND GOODNESS IS NOTHING. Hence it comes that WHEN I EXALT FAITH AND REJECT SUCH WORKS DONE WITHOUT FAITH, THEY ACCUSE ME OF FORBIDDING GOOD WORKS, WHEN IN TRUTH I AM TRYING HARD TO TEACH REAL GOOD WORKS OF FAITH.”

    Then the test comes that Luther identifies the false teachers with:

    “If you ask further, whether they count it also a good work when they work at their trade, walk, stand, eat, drink, sleep, and do all kinds of works for the nourishment of the body or for the common welfare, and whether they believe that God takes pleasure in them because of such works, YOU WILL FIND THAT THEY SAY, “NO”; and they define good works so narrowly that they are made to consist only of praying in church, fasting, and almsgiving. Other works they consider to be in vain, and think that God cares nothing for them. So through their damnable unbelief they curtail and lessen the service of God, Who is served by all things whatsoever that are done, spoken or thought in faith.”

    Let me put this in the modern sense according to the enthused religion/sects:

    “If you ask further, whether they count it also a good work SO THAT A MAN MIGHT KNOW AND HAVE FURTHER ASSURANCE THEY ARE SAVED, ELECT, ETC…when they work SIMPLY at their trade, walk, stand, eat, drink, sleep, and do all kinds of works for the nourishment of the body or for the common welfare, and whether they believe that God takes pleasure in them because of such works, AND SUCH THAT SUCH A MAN/WOMAN DOES FIND ASSURANCE PER JOHN, PAUL AND PETER IN ALL THE VERSES THEY QUOTE, YOU WILL FIND THAT THEY SAY, “NO”; They then will speak of other good works that is their pleasing list.

    Thus the heart is surely comforted by MUCH good works with faith at its head, and there is truly assurance in Good Works as the apostles speak. But it is not as the false teachers preach who have no sacraments (= no true gospel). The irony being this, there is in fact great comfort in good works when faith is the head of them, but it is not as the good works mongers think. And it is proven when a man does good works simply by eating, drinking and sleeping! Here we find great wonderous assurance in these good works, and plenteously they are, and reflection sees them. But if you ask merit mongering heterodoxies if these are such good works whereby upon reflection assurance is had, they will in fact say “no” but have a narrow list in mind just like Papacy and Rome. Yet these are the TRUE good works that the Lutheran confessions speak of that faith will NOT and refuses to let false faith rob them of, the jewels of their faith inspired good works and these do in fact give Christians with true saving faith tremendous comfort and assurance. For these are begotten of faith that rests in the naked Word (Word and Sacraments) first and only, and their (these good works so seen upon reflection) existence gives further show that faith IS. But these are not the evil works (the narrow “good” works of the merit mongers) that they think are “good” works that prove faith.

    Here in good works we see that we have the same two opposing religions. On the one hand the religion that rejects the sacraments (and absolution) as true means of dispensing and giving grace, this false faith/religion’s “good” works whereby it thinks it proves and has its assurance. Yet it is actually proof that it is unbelief and not faith at all, yet it will call this unbelief “faith” and its evil works “good” works and simultaneously call true faith “unbelief and true good works, nothing whatsoever at best or evil at worse (the theology of glory calls evil good and good evil). Then on the other hand the religion of the Cross that holds its assurance at the nude Word of God (Word and Sacrament), and has its true good works to which it clings and utterly refuses to relinquish.

    Larry

  30. Ike,

    I appreciate the effort and like that very much. But we are not close at all. Don’t hear that the wrong way. Maybe this will help: The great failure of John Calvin, for example, was to assume a mediating way between Luther and Zwingli. The reality is this, there is no “close” in theology. I hope that makes sense as to why I say we are not close at all but opposite. Close as the old saying goes only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes.

    That being said, I think progress is possible. So let’s see.

    I asked: “1. Who is to be baptized?”
    You replied: Baptism is God’s work alone and part of the conversion process. In Scripture, baptism is intimately associated with faith, salvation, forgiveness and receiving the Holy Spirit. Since infant baptism is never mentioned in Scripture, and infants cannot repent or “appeal to God for a good conscience”, and faith is never divorced in time from baptism, I suggest that Baptism is for believers alone.

    My answer: Not at all close, in fact in opposition. First, it’s not a work in a process, it is rebirth. See we are not at all close, process versus rebirth/regeneration. Second, “since infant baptism is not mentioned…”. Where to start. First of all you are right here using fallen human reason to say what baptism IS. Baptism is NOT for believer alone, which by the way is NO WHERE mentioned in Scripture in fact baptism is for UNBELIEVERS. You see we are not even close. The Word, Gospel, Baptism IS the Gospel. The Gospel comes to unbelief and finds no faith whatsoever but gives faith. Thirdly, you make false philosophical presupposition that faith is aided by reason, and there is nothing more contrary to Scripture. In fact reason is fallen and is the enemy of faith. Thus as Luther said infants are MORE suited for baptism than are adults who can resist the Gospel in Baptism (exactly what you are doing, what you just said is in fact resisting the Gospel in your definition of baptism – that’s what you are blinded to by your own fallen faculties), adults who via their fallen human and deceptive reason be hypocritical as opposed to infants. This is nothing else than repeating, what Luther said, of Jesus OWN WORDS holding infants in His hands saying, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for of such belongs the kingdom of heaven, if you do not become like them (adults) you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. See Christ is against you explicitly on this, you say “be like adults” Christ says, “be like infants”. Furthermore, Christ says “if you cause one of these little ones, WHO BELIEVES IN ME, to stumble…it would be better that you would drown with a milestone around your neck”. You make philosophical blunder over theology of assuming faith needs the instrument of reason to come into being. But it is quite the opposite, reason is not an aid to faith but rather its enemy. Therefore your adults, under the doctrine of “believers only”, come to baptism as its enemy and not by faith alone. Here’s where you truly deny original sin as well and we find the hidden synergism of the baptist and Calvinist alike. It is not just Arminians, pelagians or semi-pelagians that have synergism in their scheme, so do the Reformed/Calvinist (Reformed big “R” or of the baptist strain). This is NOTHING less than a throw back to the old Roman “do what is in you”. For you assume that aid of reason is good, God does not come to some material and say “take a step”, rather to the DEAD and says “let there be”. The irony here is that you deny total depravity and bondage of the will by believers baptism because of the way you view the value of reason and not faith.
    So we are utterly opposite.
    I asked: “2. What is received actually and really?”
    You replied: Christ and all His benefits
    My reply: This one is tough because I already know all your presupposition behind this answer. The sentence by itself is fine, but we do not mean the same thing and that is crystal clear. IF you really believed this then you would baptize infants per command of God, they are never excluded from it. Jesus comes to the children and infants gathering them up in His arms NOT because they are cute, but because they are in dire need of salvation and the blessing. To come to baptism IS to come to Christ, it IS to call upon the name of the Lord. Thus, baptism is utterly objective, it matter not one WIT whether faith is there or not (adult included). See here as a baptist you find for yourself a conundrum, “did baptism occur if the adult was truly an unbeliever (leave infants out for a minute)”. You cannot answer that question for me nor why it is blaspheme and idolatry to re-baptize. You will waffle all over the place on this one. Because you cannot maintain true objective baptism if faith is necessary for it to be a baptism. Ask yourself “what makes baptism” is the faith of the recipient or the Word of God, therein lay the issue. Because we need not bring infants into the discussion to show the baptist error, we may remain in the realm of adults ONLY to do so. Why do you rebaptize, was it a baptism if the faith was false and not there OF AN ADULT, and thus what is at the end of the day the sine quo none of baptism without which it is not a baptism. It is there we differ and as such differ on the Gospel.
    I asked: “3. In the Lord’s Supper what is received actually and really?”
    You replied: Christ and all His benefits

    I reply back: Then what is put into your mouth. Don’t you receive the forgiveness of sins, is that not what Christ so very clearly says? Not just a memorial but actual forgiveness of sins (his benefits, thus his true flesh and true blood). See you cannot maintain a sign/symbol memorial approach and say you receive a thing at the same time. A road sign saying “Disneyland 100 Miles Ahead” is not Disneyland. Similarly you cannot receive in baptism the thing “regeneration” if you say you only receive the baptism as a sign (or similar term) of an inward reality. And thus, neither in baptism or the LS can you say under your doctrine that you actually really and truly received THE THING itself. I.e. one baptized IS regenerated/reborn, one eating the body and blood that is precisely what it says it is – IS forgiven their sin as Christ so clearly says. Yes, it is true when you eat the body and blood of Christ (under the true Lord’s Supper) you are eating and drinking literally forgiveness of sin and have exactly that forgiveness of sin and thus forgiven without the aid of good works as proof or otherwise. And the unbeliever receives forgiveness of his sins but he rejects it and thus throws his nose up at the forgiveness of sins, the body and blood of Christ in his mouth and thus rejects the only forgiveness there is.

    In short to receive baptism, absolution or the LS IS TO ALREADY RECEIVE THE TRUE AND VERY FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND TO HAVE IT AND TO OWN IT and thus “where there IS forgiveness of sins (already) there is life and salvation” where there is not when it is rejected there is not.

    It was a good analysis, but as you plainly see we are as far apart as the east is from the west. And that’s the point, it is nothing less than a battle for the Gospel. What I am saying is what you say is not the Gospel at all but another gospel and the above analysis is the proof of it. From a “neutral” analytical point of view, if we may dare such, what is clear is that we have too utterly opposing religions. Thus, what Luther said is true that the Christian religion is a perfect tapestry of which if one alters but a thread the whole falls and is worthless. Thus, there is no “bridge” between the heterodoxies of all flavors (Reformed, Baptist, etc…) nor with Rome. Luther and Scriptures defense of the faith is not understood by way of making rational arguments, but rather dogmatic and authoritarian. Scripture demands unto its truth it does not bridge diverging interpretations. If you understand that principle you must call what I say as of the devil as much as I must say the same of what you are espousing, there is no “bridge”. If we can understand that, then we can understand the true weight of our discussion.

    Larry

    • Larry,

      Where to begin?

      There is nothing about baptism in the passage with Jesus inviting little children to Himself. At best, baptism must be read into the passage by theological reasoning.

      In Scripture, baptism and faith, though distinguishable, are inseparable. “Baptism is the occasion when the Spirit creatively works in the individual” (Beasley-Murray). Therefore, we should not isolate baptism from faith….Scripture never does. To suggest that it doesn’t matter if we have faith (thus to separate faith from baptism and baptism from faith) is goes against the Scriptural witness. Scripture always connects the two because they are both the gifts and workings of God’s grace. Restricting baptism to believers only preserves the pure witness of the gospel and upholds the witness of Scripture. Why? Because in Baptism, the objective nature of Christ saving work is applied. We cannot divorce the symbol from the reality when the N.T. holds them together without embarrassment. Baptism is an appeal (or answer) to God for a clean conscious. Something infants cannot do.

      You also asked me:

      “In the Lord’s Supper what is received actually and really”?

      My answer was that Christ and all His Benefits are received. Then you go on to ignored my answer and proceeded to tell me what I “really meant”. According to Larry, I really mean that the Lord’s Supper is only a mere symbol.

      So let me say it again: In baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Christ and His benefits are truly received. I do not separate the symbol from the reality. And once again, we see the Lord’s Supper connected to faith. Something infants cannot do.

      Larry, what this little exercise has shown me, is that you are bound to a theological system that trumps Scripture. Not only does this preconceived theological grid prevent you from proper exegesis of Scripture, but your also incapable or unwilling to understand the arguments of your opponents. Furthermore, you never attempted to exegete Scripture when providing your arguments. You also ignored the Scriptural witness I provided throughout this conversation.

  31. Ike,

    See Ike that’s the problem, you don’t except the FACT that we are NOT in the same religion. Rather you’d comfort yourself and massage your conscience by saying, “Larry, what this little exercise has shown me, is that you are bound to a theological system that trumps Scripture. Not only does this preconceived theological grid prevent you from proper exegesis of Scripture, but your also incapable or unwilling to understand the arguments of your opponents. Furthermore, you never attempted to exegete Scripture when providing your arguments. You also ignored the Scriptural witness I provided throughout this conversation.”

    Ironically, not seeing that THAT is exactly what your problem is. The fact of the matter is this, I did not grow up Lutheran. Lutheran is not a family heirloom in my family history. Most of mine are baptist or Methodist. I was eventually an atheist, I had NO theological system in my head. I came to the Scriptures sans a system and up through the baptist ranks. In fact upon conversion the Scriptures upon my blank slate formerly atheistic mind concerning baptism where initially all to clear and I saw, in what I read in the Scriptures (I had NEVER picked up a SINGLE book of theology/doctrine or religious writing other than the Bible in my ENTIRE life) and I knew that according to what Scripture said baptism was objectively everything it said it was and did not one wit depend on my faith. I saw the same very early on with the LS (still pre ANY theology baptist, Reformed, Lutheran or otherwise – I only read the bible), though while in the baptist church I was ignorantly unaware of that denominations confession on such; thus I believed it was exactly as what Jesus said it was. It’s really not hard to believe with naked faith, it was not hard at all to believe God does what He says He does even if I don’t understand how. It took later baptistic DOCTRINE to INDOCTRINATE me OUT OF what THE SCRIPTURES SAID. It was THEN that I had to pick up other theology to see if this was true or not. I saw that what they said, Baptist, was not Scriptural BECAUSE I questioned the system, then the Reformed and yes even then Lutheran for at first I questioned THAT. But the Scriptures where simply too weighty and I found that in the Lutheran confession the Scriptural truth that was quite frankly plain BEFORE the INDOCTRINATION of the baptist and reformed religions that steered me OUT OF SCRIPTURE by explaining them away via the cloak of “exegesis”. So your false charge against me and my particular background and journey is little more than an intellectual pacifier for your fit throwing.

    The difference between you and Lutheran is you use the Scriptures to give credence to your doctrine, their doctrine arises out of Scripture.

    First, you ignore the FACT that the Scriptural witness is against you concerning infants and faith, infants can a do have faith to which the Scriptures give ABUNDANT witness to, yet you ignore it and explain it away. Scripture gives plenty witness, out of the mouth of Christ no less, that infants have faith, they give worship (which requires faith and can only be done in faith).

    Second, Your hang up on infants and faith simply proves the FACT of your ill conceived idea of the sacraments which in turn connects to your ideas of what the Gospel is. That’s why I can say in discussion concerning baptism narrowly focusing JUST on that the faith of an infant or adult is irrelevant as to what the sacrament IS, its essence. This is why you cannot nor will you ever as a baptist answer the question of the baptism of an adult who is found to be an unbeliever, “was he baptized” and “why do you rebaptize”, etc… This further proves the FACT of your real understanding of the sacraments that baptism is only baptism if faith is there and NOT objective to faith AND THUS not as you say OBJECTIVELY of “Christ and His benefits” (which you conveniently do not elaborate nor identify what that is, namely forgiveness of sin, which goes back to your legal system underpinning EVERYTHING). In other words it based on faith first and NOT as you surreptitiously huff and puff “of Christ and His benefits”. That’s why YOUR confession rebaptizes, that’s why YOUR confession says an infant is not baptized. Because the reality IS based on YOUR confession of YOUR OWN “exegesis” out of YOUR OWN MOUTH that baptism is based on faith and not objectively “the benefits of Christ” (which you leave in the nebulous and do not identify as “forgiveness of sin”).

    SEE YOU CANNOT SAY THAT BAPTISM IS FORGIVENESS OF SIN (CHRIST AND HIS BENEFITS) WHETHER THE BAPTIZED PERSON BELIEVES IT OR NOT. And I really do not need to expand further upon that because THAT is the essence of our different religions, the opposing difference. It need not balloon larger until we get past that. As you see we are here, alone, in utter opposition. To which instead of answer the question you’d rather fire back the rather droll enthused response, “you believe in a system I believe in the bible”. When in fact all you believe is a system imposed over top of scripture. You turn from the clear words of Christ and explain them away at every word and never once give the reason why you do so. Why you cannot believe Christ when He says, for example “this is My body/blood”, the burden of proof is upon you to give reason NUMBER ONE why ANYONE should not believe the very Word’s of Christ. Why one should depart from them.

  32. Yawn…….bye Larry.

  33. Great Quote!! Letting go is proof that we trust Christ!

  34. […] quotation by Martin Luther open on my desktop for the past couple of weeks, thanks to my friend Steve: “Let us thank God, therefore, that we have been delivered from this monster of uncertainty and […]

  35. […] quotation by Martin Luther open on my desktop for the past couple of weeks, thanks to my friend Steve: “Let us thank God, therefore, that we have been delivered from this monster of uncertainty and […]

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