14 August 2012

Today's section of the Book of Concord

as indicated in the Treasury is one of my favorites.  Melanchthon is expositing Col. 3:14, and how "love, which binds all together in perfect harmony" isn't a reference to love justifying, but to the service of love in the life of the church:  "In a similar way, Paul commands that there should be love in the Church in order that it may preserve unity, bear with the harsher manners of brethren as there is need, and overlook certain less serious mistakes. This must happen or else the Church will fly apart into various schisms, and hostilities and factions and heresies will arise from the schisms." (Ap V:111 / or IV:232)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have always wondered how it is possible for anyone to command love. And here St. Paul is doing it. But, of course, his English was not that good. In the language he spoke much better, German, he said, “also will Paulus da vermahnen zu der christlichen Liebe, daß einer des andern Fehle (sic. This is not Paul’s mistake but the scribe’s; it should be “Fehler“), Gebrechen dulden und tragen soll, daß sie einander vergeben sollen...“ “Vermahnen” has not been used in the German language for many years, but words related to it, such as “ermanhnen”, “mahnen”, all from the same root, are still in use. They all mean “to urge”, “to exhort”, even “to remind”, but never “to command”.

Actually, in Colossians 3:14, when he spoke English, St. Paul said, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love.” But there were some generations of our ancestors who felt that commanding was the way of the Kingdom, and it made things a lot simpler.

Does it make any difference? It does if you want to know whether this is Law or Gospel. The Law commands, the Gospel exhorts.

Yes, I know that our Lord said, “A new commandment I give to you …”, and that John commands that we should love. But if you examine these sayings, I think that you will agree, they are commandments in the sense of the Third Use, which does not carry the threat of the Law.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart