14 June 2007

Walther

A beautiful reading for today on part of last Sunday's epistle: 1 John 4:16-18. Here's just a snippet:

Therefore, if the love of God does not reside in a person's heart, he boasts of faith and relies upon it in vain. Faith is not an intention to acquire all the comfort of the Gospel. It is a heavenly light, a divine power that God, with His grace, implants in the heart. Faith without love for God is an empty product of our imagining, a hull without fruit, a shell without kernel, a painted picture without life. Wherever there is true faith, love comes forth like the shining of the sun. Wherever love is absent from the heart, God, the eternal love, cannot be found there.... If you do not remain in love, you also will not remain in faith. *God Grant It!* p. 495

2 comments:

Sch├╝tz said...

I agree entirely with this beautiful statement. Any Catholic would. Which perhaps highlights the fact that Adam Cooper pointed out in his First Things blog on Koons--that Lutherans and Catholics often speak of faith and love with different nuanced meanings. However, here, I think that Walther is seeing the connection perfectly well.

It is possible in theory, perhaps, to separate the effect of faith from the effect of love in the process of justification, yet, since "faith without love for God is an empty product of our imagining, a hull without fruit, a shell without kernel, a painted picture without life" and "wherever there is true faith, love comes forth like the shining of the sun", it becomes almost impossible to imagine a justification which takes place by "faith alone" as if "faith alone" were to mean "faith without love".

Yes, we Catholics can also say that one is justified by faith, but we stumble on the "faith alone" bit because, as in this quote from Walther, we cannot conceive of true faith that is separate from true love.

William Weedon said...

David,

But Lutherans have always and only meant by saving faith such faith as exists only in penitence and you know that the Apology confesses that love and faith are inseparable, nevertheless faith in God's love for us is the cause of our love for God and other people. But because God's law demands a perfect and complete love, my plea (and surely yours) on the Day of Jugdment will be for God's mercy for Christ's sake and not the holding up of any deeds of love that I have done. As Saint Augustine said so eloquently: "We must remain under God's pardon to the end lest we attribute too much to ourselves."