09 July 2012

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We are either making progress or losing ground in the way of the Lord; examine thy life daily, therefore, to see whether thou art advancing in the pursuit of godliness or retrograding.––Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XXVIII

3 comments:

Paul McCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul McCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Can this end in anything but despair? John Justus comes to you and says, “Praise God, Pastor, I have kept track of my sins and good works from the beginning of the year, and I have noticed that today there is a slight decline in the number of sins I commit, and my good works are up just a bit.” Will you say to him, “Well done, you are an example to all of us, you must be specially blessed by God”, or will you at least consider saying to him, “Indeed you are almost perfect. There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” The end will be despair.

And John Collector comes to you the next day, and says to you, “Wretch that I am, Pastor, I have kept track of my sins and good works from the beginning of the year, and I have noticed today that there is a slight increase in the number of sins I commit, and my good works are down.” Will you say to him, “Obviously you are not taking your faith seriously; it is doubtful that you are even a Christian. Come back to me when you have turned things around.” Or will you at least consider saying to him, “Fear not, your Savior has taken away your sins, and He cannot even remember them, and He has prepared good works for you to walk in”?

In all likelihood you may also want to ask both of them, “Is it possible for you to record every one of your sins? I am unable to do it; more often than not I forget my sin as soon as I have committed it. And about good works, is it still a good work if you have recorded it?”

Luther, in the Large Catechism, The Apostles’ Creed, Article III: “57] Meanwhile, however, while sanctification has begun and is growing daily, we expect that our flesh will be destroyed and buried with all its uncleanness, and will come forth gloriously, and arise to entire and perfect holiness in a new eternal life. 58] For now we are only half pure and holy, so that the Holy Ghost has ever [some reason why] to continue His work in us through the Word, and daily to dispense forgiveness, until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness, but only perfectly pure and holy people, full of godliness and righteousness, removed and free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body.”

Only when we look outside of ourselves for salvation and sanctification can we avoid despair. We are beggars; everything we have has been given to us by our generous Patron, even the joy that nobody can take away from us.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart