17 September 2021

Gerhard and Walther

The very foundation and principle of a holy life is godly sorrow for sin. For where there is true penitence there is forgiveness of sin; where there is forgiveness of sin there is the grace of God; where the grace of God is there is Christ; where Christ is there is Christ’s merit; where Christ’s merit is there is satisfaction for sin; where there is satisfaction there is justification; where there is justification there is a glad and quiet conscience; where there is peace of conscience there is the Holy Spirit; where the Holy Spirit is present, there is the ever blessed Trinity; and where the Holy Trinity is there is life eternal.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations I.

How miserable are the people who have no Word of God! Wealth, honor, and earthly joys cannot make them really happy for they are lacking the best and most necessary thing: the peace of God, the rest of the heart and the conscience.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 730.


Anonymous said...

From the Gerhard quotation, “The very foundation and principle of a holy life is godly sorrow for sin.”
Where is the Scriptural support for this statement? There is none, because the statement is not true.
It would be true, if we were under the Law. The Law is in conformity with human nature, and that is what human nature believes: Christ suffered and died for our sins; therefore, we must repent forever.
The Gospel, on the other hand, is not in conformity with human nature. Nobody can know anything about it, unless it is revealed to a person, and then only if the Holy Spirit gives the person understanding. The Gospel is an expression of God’s nature. That nature is Love and Grace.
Therefore God can say things that are totally foreign to our nature: Hebrews 12:2, “…Who for the sake of the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, disregarding its shame …”
There are over a dozen passages in Scripture that teach that “the very foundation of a holy life” is joy. Here are just a few, from both Covenants:
Isaiah 65:13-14, 13Therefore this is what the Lord GOD says:
“My servants will eat,
but you will go hungry;
My servants will drink,
but you will go thirsty;
My servants will rejoice,
but you will be put to shame.
14My servants will shout for joy with a glad heart,
but you will cry out with a heavy heart
and wail with a broken spirit.

Psalm 5:11-12, “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them ever shout for joy.
May You shelter them,
that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.
12For surely You, O LORD, bless the righteous;
You surround them with the shield of Your favor.

John 15:11, the words of our Lord on the eve of his death: “I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”

John 16:22, “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (Unless you let them, GAM)

1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9now that you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

2 Corinthians 7:10-11 (KJV) 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Will. Far be it from me to argue against “godly sorrow.” In 2 Corinthians 7:10-11, St. Paul deals with a one-time incident. The Corinthians had refused to allow someone who had sinned and repented, back into the congregation. What St. Paul is saying applies to that particular incident.
What I object to is the belief that godly sorrow is the “very foundation and principle of a holy life.” Maybe it is impossible to determine what is the “very foundation and principle of a holy life.” There may not be such a one thing. The Gospel is a many-faceted diamond. In Romans 14:17-18, St. Paul comes close to defining the essence of the Kingdom, “17for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.”
I am reminded of H. L. Mencken’s definition of Puritanism: "a haunting fear that someone somewhere may be happy..."
Peace and Joy!