Author Topic: dilemma of faith and works  (Read 6601 times)

readselerttoo

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #60 on: September 16, 2015, 04:12:34 PM »
I'm simply trying to interpret the Latin of the AC 6 (since this was the version used in the public presentation of the Confession back in the day!). 

Both the German and the Latin were presented to the Emperor, but only the German was read aloud publicly.


Ok.  Thanks for that distinction.

readselerttoo

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #61 on: September 16, 2015, 04:31:17 PM »

I'm simply trying to interpret the Latin of the AC 6 (since this was the version used in the public presentation of the Confession back in the day!).  The Latin verbs in AC 6 to me convey that since faith produces a good person (because he believes that God's forgiveness is for him since Jesus' death on the cross was for all sinners) that person who is now good in God's eyes can not produce anything else but good works because God has judged him good (because he believes that Jesus forgives his sin).  The Latin debeat parere...oporteat in AC 6 conveys that sense.  The goodness is not internally generated by human will but by the fact that in Christ God gives this to the faith-filled person who believes that God in Christ has reconciled him (through Jesus' death which is always for sinners) not even counting their trespasses against them ala 2 Corinthians 5.


This is a helpful clarification.  But it sounds like "good works" are ultimately derived from justification, and are not the product of sanctification, and certainly not equivalent to what we would call "morality."  Is that right?

Tom Pearson



As it was discussed on another thread (?) sanctification is not human centered but based on the Holy Spirit's activity.   see John's Gospel chapter 17.

Team Hesse

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #62 on: September 16, 2015, 05:06:09 PM »
Amen, George. The way I like to put it is:

Dear Christian, good works are not how you get to heaven; good works are how heaven gets to your neighbor through you.

Yes!  God's Work.  Our Hands.

Now there IS a dilemma. That's an excellent slogan, except when used as the primary identity statement of a church body. Since good works flow from faith, making a catchphrase/slogan of something secondary makes a church body look like it regards the secondary as the primary.

It's a matter of priorities. A church body's self-identifying slogan should reflect the single most important thing to that organization's existence. And that should be the Gospel rightly preached and the sacraments properly administered. And a Christian church's slogan should include some mention of Jesus and/or the Cross, don't you think? "God's Work. Our Hands" would work equally as well as the slogan for a synagogue, a mosque, or pseudo-religious charity.

I suppose I should have thought of the tendency to get priorities mixed up when contemplating the dilemma of faith and works. Putting the works ahead of the faith IS a dilemma.

How about:  "God's Work, God's Hands."

I'd prefer, "The Gospel rightly preached, the Sacraments properly administered". Or, maybe, "Only by Grace, only through Faith, only as in Scripture".


The Pastors I hang out with prefer"God's Word, our ears."


Lou

George Erdner

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #63 on: September 16, 2015, 07:09:35 PM »
Amen, George. The way I like to put it is:

Dear Christian, good works are not how you get to heaven; good works are how heaven gets to your neighbor through you.

Yes!  God's Work.  Our Hands.

Now there IS a dilemma. That's an excellent slogan, except when used as the primary identity statement of a church body. Since good works flow from faith, making a catchphrase/slogan of something secondary makes a church body look like it regards the secondary as the primary.

It's a matter of priorities. A church body's self-identifying slogan should reflect the single most important thing to that organization's existence. And that should be the Gospel rightly preached and the sacraments properly administered. And a Christian church's slogan should include some mention of Jesus and/or the Cross, don't you think? "God's Work. Our Hands" would work equally as well as the slogan for a synagogue, a mosque, or pseudo-religious charity.

I suppose I should have thought of the tendency to get priorities mixed up when contemplating the dilemma of faith and works. Putting the works ahead of the faith IS a dilemma.

How about:  "God's Work, God's Hands."

I'd prefer, "The Gospel rightly preached, the Sacraments properly administered". Or, maybe, "Only by Grace, only through Faith, only as in Scripture".


The Pastors I hang out with prefer"God's Word, our ears."


Lou

That would fit a bumper sticker better.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #64 on: September 16, 2015, 07:12:49 PM »
Amen, George. The way I like to put it is:

Dear Christian, good works are not how you get to heaven; good works are how heaven gets to your neighbor through you.

Yes!  God's Work.  Our Hands.

Now there IS a dilemma. That's an excellent slogan, except when used as the primary identity statement of a church body. Since good works flow from faith, making a catchphrase/slogan of something secondary makes a church body look like it regards the secondary as the primary.

It's a matter of priorities. A church body's self-identifying slogan should reflect the single most important thing to that organization's existence. And that should be the Gospel rightly preached and the sacraments properly administered. And a Christian church's slogan should include some mention of Jesus and/or the Cross, don't you think? "God's Work. Our Hands" would work equally as well as the slogan for a synagogue, a mosque, or pseudo-religious charity.

I suppose I should have thought of the tendency to get priorities mixed up when contemplating the dilemma of faith and works. Putting the works ahead of the faith IS a dilemma.

How about:  "God's Work, God's Hands."

I'd prefer, "The Gospel rightly preached, the Sacraments properly administered". Or, maybe, "Only by Grace, only through Faith, only as in Scripture".


The Pastors I hang out with prefer"God's Word, our ears."


And so our response to God's Word is just to sit and listen? Mary was commended for that; but just before that story, a lawyer is told, "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37). To paraphrase Ecclesiastes: There is a time to sit and listen, and there is a time to get up, go, and do.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

truthseeker

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #65 on: September 17, 2015, 01:21:53 AM »

The pressure is ended in Jesus. It is His. He took it to the cross, the tomb, to hell, and left it there when He was raised from the dead. The bill has been paid, the pressure is gone. Believe this--"the work of the Father is this, to believe in the one He has sent." Now you have all of eternity ahead of you.... what would you like to do? "For freedom Christ has set us free."


The law is not the goal of human existence, Jesus is. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."


Lou

Thanks very much, Pastor Hesse!
I had a lot of troubles with Law, but now it seems to click for me!Thank you!
Can I understand it in this way:before Faith exists, the Law only threats me with its toughest standard and pressures (the second "use"?) that I can be killed by it; and then, after Faith exists, i.e.:after the stern pressures are completely ended by faith in Gospel, the Law sometimes guides me in the ways of serving the world,but when may faith is feeble and weak once again, the pressures and sounds("show me your living faith and worthy repentance and your love and your good works,or else,you will go to hell" ) rise to surface once more(second use again?) to re-kill and re-pursue me to Gospel again?
Law-Gospel-Law-Gospel-Law-Gospel……Law-Gospel?

truthseeker

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #66 on: September 17, 2015, 01:28:56 AM »
Sometimes Luther seems to say that what make a good work is the motivation of the worker.  Anything that flows from faith is a good work.  At other times, however, Luther seems to say that what makes a good work is the need of the neighbor, so that the motivation of the worker is irrelevant.  Justification frees one from the need to ask, "What is my motivation?"
Very good,thanks!
But I think Rom14:23b tells the answer.

truthseeker

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #67 on: September 17, 2015, 01:33:46 AM »
Amen, George. The way I like to put it is:

Dear Christian, good works are not how you get to heaven; good works are how heaven gets to your neighbor through you.

Yes!  God's Work.  Our Hands.

Now there IS a dilemma. That's an excellent slogan, except when used as the primary identity statement of a church body. Since good works flow from faith, making a catchphrase/slogan of something secondary makes a church body look like it regards the secondary as the primary.

It's a matter of priorities. A church body's self-identifying slogan should reflect the single most important thing to that organization's existence. And that should be the Gospel rightly preached and the sacraments properly administered. And a Christian church's slogan should include some mention of Jesus and/or the Cross, don't you think? "God's Work. Our Hands" would work equally as well as the slogan for a synagogue, a mosque, or pseudo-religious charity.

I suppose I should have thought of the tendency to get priorities mixed up when contemplating the dilemma of faith and works. Putting the works ahead of the faith IS a dilemma.

How about:  "God's Work, God's Hands."

I'd prefer, "The Gospel rightly preached, the Sacraments properly administered". Or, maybe, "Only by Grace, only through Faith, only as in Scripture".


The Pastors I hang out with prefer"God's Word, our ears."


And so our response to God's Word is just to sit and listen? Mary was commended for that; but just before that story, a lawyer is told, "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37). To paraphrase Ecclesiastes: There is a time to sit and listen, and there is a time to get up, go, and do.
I heard of the slogan of WELS :"Christ's Love,our calling".I like it! ;)

Team Hesse

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #68 on: September 17, 2015, 07:38:00 AM »

The pressure is ended in Jesus. It is His. He took it to the cross, the tomb, to hell, and left it there when He was raised from the dead. The bill has been paid, the pressure is gone. Believe this--"the work of the Father is this, to believe in the one He has sent." Now you have all of eternity ahead of you.... what would you like to do? "For freedom Christ has set us free."


The law is not the goal of human existence, Jesus is. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."


Lou

Thanks very much, Pastor Hesse!
I had a lot of troubles with Law, but now it seems to click for me!Thank you!
Can I understand it in this way:before Faith exists, the Law only threats me with its toughest standard and pressures (the second "use"?) that I can be killed by it; and then, after Faith exists, i.e.:after the stern pressures are completely ended by faith in Gospel, the Law sometimes guides me in the ways of serving the world,but when may faith is feeble and weak once again, the pressures and sounds("show me your living faith and worthy repentance and your love and your good works,or else,you will go to hell" ) rise to surface once more(second use again?) to re-kill and re-pursue me to Gospel again?
Law-Gospel-Law-Gospel-Law-Gospel……Law-Gospel?


Yes.....very much so....Law-Gospel.....thanks be to God.


Lou

truthseeker

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #69 on: September 17, 2015, 10:16:03 AM »

The law is not the goal of human existence, Jesus is. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."


Lou

Sorry Pastor Hesse,I seem to meet some problems with certain passages of Bible once again, :-\.

“The law is not the goal of human existence, Jesus is.”
Some questions about some Bible passages:

First,Is the Law equal to holiness?
I guess some christians(for example, as the Reformed folks confess in their Westerminster Smaller Catechism Q&A 1.) may assent that (obeying)the Law or holiness or glorifying God is the goal and purpose of human existence more or less.

And then how should we explain those tough and severe passages that seems to tell us that we MUST DO the Holy Father's will and be obedient and grateful to Him and bear more and more fruits to please the Holy GOD and glorify Him ,etc? Just view them as the second use of Law or the threat of Law and put the tough standard and huge pressures upon Jesus' shoulder?

Is the ‘salvation’ a purpose of our faith or a means by which for us to achieve certain higher purposes or goals?(Maybe Both Again? ;)) The ‘salvation’ seem to be meant to equip and inspire us to DO ‘good works’ and BE holy and without blemish(Eph 1:4 and 2:10 and Rev 21-22!) which seem to be our eternal goal in these verses.How should we deal with these passages that seem to tell us that the goal and purpose of creature existence is holiness and to do Creator's will and to be obedient the Law?(e.g.:2Cor 5:9 Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him.)

truthseeker

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #70 on: September 17, 2015, 10:39:28 AM »
Finally, are good works necessary for the existence of faith (that's what your phrase "bound to" sounds like)?  If so, wouldn't that make faith dependent on good works?

I know what the Lutheran Confessions say.  I still don't have answers to those questions.

Tom Pearson
I feel the same way ,Tom.To my understanding, the description "faith is bound to XXX" itself really sounds a Law(maybe) rather than a Gospel or a comfort. It just implies that where there is a "must","bound to","XXX is necessary to XXX" ,"should" or even the "justifying faith is never alone" , there is a huge pressure, a sneaking taskmaster of Pharoah, the sheer threat of Law itself and then a spirit of bondage.
Our truly good works may not derive from a pressure or thrust of "must","should","be necessary for " or "be bound to",even though good works may be a goal of our faith.
In other words, though the description " faith is bound to bear fruits" is right and logical, truly good works are not out of the description or prescription, but from Gospel(declaration) alone.
For me,that "justifying faith is never alone" or "faith is bound to bear fruits" is really a sheer Law;but "justificaiton is by faith alone" or "justification is apart from the fruits or the works of Law "is a sheer Gospel.

Team Hesse

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #71 on: September 17, 2015, 11:01:22 AM »

The law is not the goal of human existence, Jesus is. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."


Lou

Sorry Pastor Hesse,I seem to meet some problems with certain passages of Bible once again, :-\ .

“The law is not the goal of human existence, Jesus is.”
Some questions about some Bible passages:

First,Is the Law equal to holiness?
I guess some christians(for example, as the Reformed folks confess in their Westerminster Smaller Catechism Q&A 1.) may assent that (obeying)the Law or holiness or glorifying God is the goal and purpose of human existence more or less.

And then how should we explain those tough and severe passages that seems to tell us that we MUST DO the Holy Father's will and be obedient and grateful to Him and bear more and more fruits to please the Holy GOD and glorify Him ,etc? Just view them as the second use of Law or the threat of Law and put the tough standard and huge pressures upon Jesus' shoulder?

Is the ‘salvation’ a purpose of our faith or a means by which for us to achieve certain higher purposes or goals?(Maybe Both Again? ;) ) The ‘salvation’ seem to be meant to equip and inspire us to DO ‘good works’ and BE holy and without blemish(Eph 1:4 and 2:10 and Rev 21-22!) which seem to be our eternal goal in these verses.How should we deal with these passages that seem to tell us that the goal and purpose of creature existence is holiness and to do Creator's will and to be obedient the Law?(e.g.:2Cor 5:9 Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him.)


There are others in this venue more qualified than I to deal with these type of questions......but here goes....


Yes, the Reformed and others see the fulfilling of the law as the ultimate goal of human existence. Karl Barth is in this camp. Lutherans are not. In Christ we have the fulfillment of all things, the telos (an immense term in the Greek) of all things. When we cast about for some sense of purpose and goal beyond the presence of Jesus, we are casting about for some idol because Jesus simply cannot be the answer to human being in our not so humble (fallen) existence. The law, the greatest word from God outside of the Word made flesh, has its purposes but there is no salvation in it. It is the pedagogue, the slave teacher who runs the classroom of life, until the Master shows up. In Christ we have the Master. We listen for His Voice, we listen for His teaching. The law will always be with us while we are in the flesh, to curb, guide, and accuse, so we continue to turn to the Master with praying hearts "Lord remember me when you come onto your Kingdom." A plea which does not go unheard. As one of my teachers has put it so often into my ears, "a thing is either Christ or not Christ. Only Christ saves. The law is not Christ." It is penultimate.


Be careful with the law. St Paul warns us we are either in the law or in Christ; dismissed from the law or dismissed from Christ....
I wish to be found in Christ.


Lou

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #72 on: September 17, 2015, 11:06:41 AM »
@truthseeker

My reading of this, is that you're frustrated with the tension that comes from living between Law and Gospel.  Any discussion I've had with other pastors comes down to the encouragement to embrace the tension, and recognize there's no escape as long as we are simultaneously sinner and saint.  I struggled with the tension. 

The best way that worked for me..
1) Work like a Pelagian.  (Philippians 2:12)
2) Trust like a Calvinist.  (Romans 8... all of it)
3) Don't be distracted by others wickedness (Philippians 3:12-20)
4) Keep your eyes on the Cross  (Numbers 21:4-9)


FWIW, my current position wasn't really affected by the above.  It dealt more with the existence of God which caused the above to crumble.  So long as you believe that there is a God, the above may help you. 

LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

Steverem

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #73 on: September 17, 2015, 11:12:57 AM »


Yes, the Reformed and others see the fulfilling of the law as the ultimate goal of human existence.


Not sure my Reformed friends would agree - unless you are equating "fulfilling the law" with glorifying God:

Quote from: Westminster Shorter Catechism

Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.


Team Hesse

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Re: dilemma of faith and works
« Reply #74 on: September 17, 2015, 11:13:54 AM »
@truthseeker

My reading of this, is that you're frustrated with the tension that comes from living between Law and Gospel.  Any discussion I've had with other pastors comes down to the encouragement to embrace the tension, and recognize there's no escape as long as we are simultaneously sinner and saint.  I struggled with the tension. 

The best way that worked for me..
1) Work like a Pelagian.  (Philippians 2:12)
2) Trust like a Calvinist.  (Romans 8... all of it)
3) Don't be distracted by others wickedness (Philippians 3:12-20)
4) Keep your eyes on the Cross  (Numbers 21:4-9)


FWIW, my current position wasn't really affected by the above.  It dealt more with the existence of God which caused the above to crumble.  So long as you believe that there is a God, the above may help you.


When he heard a list like this, my son added "have six kids like a Mormon." ;)


Lou