Theology for all!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Gospel Dominates

Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 26, 2023 with No comments

 Luther dealt with Law & Gospel when he dealt with his Saxon visitations. In the 1520s, Luther realized that being freed from the condemnation of the law caused people to love serving others. Luther visited other congregations and was not pleased with what he saw. Luther dealt with antinomianism and other controversies dealing with the concept of sanctification (growing more and more Christ-like). After Luther's death, Melanchthon most prominently describes three uses of the Law. Some people prefer "functions" over "uses." Melanchthon explained how the Law was a curb, mirror and guide. It's been a staple in Lutheran culture since Melanchthon. 

Sanctification to some degree has to do with all three uses of the law, but it's most clearly associated with the third use of the Law. 

Unfortunately, during the Pietist Movement, sanctification began to supercede justification in importance. People were looking within themselves versus outside of themselves (extra nos) for assurance of salvation. 

A Key element to this debate is the Mystical Union


The mystical union is the ontological (literal, physical) indwelling of the Godhead within us. All the language of being conformed to Christ that we see in the Bible, etc. The whole point is intimacy---this is why the apostle Paul was so adamant about the Corinthians being sexually pure. Our relationship with Christ is definitely NOT sexual, but it is intimate. 

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Sanctification is so much more than just moral effort. 


Two problems that show up in Lutheranism in the mid 1900s are Gospel reductionism (no Law preached). The Law shifts from being the eternal will of God to just accusation.  Gerhard Forde would say that the Law only accuses.  He removes the essence of the Law from the distinction of the Law.  This leads to a theology that has nothing good to say about sanctification.  Gerhard Forde has an essay on sanctification, in which he says sanctification is getting used to your justification.  This is not found in Luther, Lutheranism, our Confessions, but most importantly, this idea is not found in scripture. 


 Sanctification is God the Holy Spirit working with us, within us.  


Post a Comment