26 July 2011

Chemnitz on the Big Beef

What's the big beef between Rome and the Lutherans on justification?  Chemnitz disposes of several myths - the Lutherans do not teach that believers have only forgiveness in Christ and not renewal by the Spirit; the Lutherans do not teach that people saved by faith are free to do whatever they want; we certainly teach that faith is bound to produce love and all good works and that a faith that doesn't is just a sham.  So, what's the big beef, then?  Here are his sublime words:

For this is the chief question, this is the issue, the point of controversy, the krinomenon:  namely, what that is on account of which God receives sinful man into grace; what must and can be set over against the judgment of God, that we may not be condemned according to the strict sentence of the Law; what faith must apprehend and bring forward, on what it must rely, when it wants to deal with God, that it may receive the remission of sins; what intervenes, on account of which God is rendered appeased and propitious to the sinner who has merited wrath and eternal damnation; what the conscience should set up as the thing on account of which the adoption may be bestowed on us, on which confidence can be safely reposed that we shall be accepted to life eternal, etc.; whether it is the satisfaction, obedience, and merit of the Son of God, the Mediator, or, indeed, the renewal that has been begun in us, the love, and other virtues in us.  Here is the point at issue in the controversy. 

This is what is at stake in the sola fide.

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