07 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Whoever loves God will love that which is sent to him from God. In this life, God the Lord sends various crosses upon those who love Him. Therefore, they must also receive from Him with love and patience.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:114. 

Aside from God’s Word, there is nothing we can rely upon. We cannot trust our heart, for it always wants to follow the erring path. Scripture says that whoever relies on his heart is a fool. Our own understanding is equally fallible…. We cannot depend on the testimony of people for their judgments can be both errant and deceptive, sometimes by mistake and sometimes wantonly. All people are liars, the Bible teaches, and experience confirms this.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 488. 


Anonymous said...

"In this life, God the Lord sends various crosses upon those who love Him." This is a commonly held belief, for which there is no support in the New Testament. As such it dilutes the Gospel, and a diluted Gospel is no Gospel at all. If it was true in the Old Testament, it was because it was a two-sided covenant, in which God promised that, if the people would not obey His commandments, He would subject them to suffering. However, in the New Testament, which, like the covenant with Abraham, is a one-sided one, He "forgives their iniquity, and remembers their sins no more."
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Jerry Gernander said...

Romans 5:1-5 and Hebrews 12:4-11 help address this.

William Weedon said...

I’d add above all: Luke 9:23 (ESV) And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” I distinguish between bearing His cross and bearing my cross. His cross is specifically suffering for the name of Christ and for the confession of His Gospel. My cross is whenever my will crosses God’s will: when that happens, Jesus bids me pick it up and follow Him (who in Gethsemane did exactly that). I also find it an immensely comforting thought, George, that from eternity God Himself has planned the crosses by which we’d be conformed to the image of His Son. The sufferings and hardships are never “unplanned” and that enables us to receive whatever cup the Lord is reaching us with confidence and even joy: “No poison can be in the cup that my Physician sends me” as we sing.

Anonymous said...

Every mention of suffering in the New Testament does not imply that God is the cause of it. Hebrews 12 is unique in the New Testament. However, it does not speak of God causing suffering for His people, but something called παιδείας, which Strong’s Concordance defines as ”tutorage, i.e. education or training; by implication, disciplinary correction:--chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.” The root of the word is “child.”
I wrote about the Gospel in my original posting, because people, myself included, tend to forget that salvation is “by grace alone.” God saves us without making us “better” so that we can be saved. This παιδείας, of which God is the cause, is not intended to make us suffer, but to make us happier, by learning the lesson God wants to teach us, whatever that may be, in any particular instance.
The causes of suffering are Sin, the Devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. When we will be with God, we will know why God decided not to eliminate suffering from this world, in spite of the fact that our Lord Jesus has already been victorious over the Devil and the world. However, in this world, God wants us to bear that suffering, of which He is not the cause, without muttering, even with joy, for any number of reasons, among them, Romans 5:3, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
God does not cause our suffering, but when we experience it, He uses it for our own good, as St. Paul testified, Romans 8: 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
And also, “James 1:13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone. 14But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. 15Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of His creation.”
The Greek word that is translated as a form of “to tempt” comes from πειράζω, which can just as well be translated as “to test,” which together with “to try”, was its original meaning in Greek.
It is also good to remember that when we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” it is clear that not everything that happens on earth conforms to the will of God.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart