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A Remedy for Lutheran Antinomianism: from Heshusius’ Sermon for Trinity 3

June 20, 2012 1 comment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilemann_Heshusius

The First Point

What godly Christian Repentance or Conversion (bekehrung) is, and what parts it is comprised of.

 

True/real, Christian, blessed [saving/salutary?] repentance is made up of two parts.  The first is remorse (Reu) and sorrow (Leid) because of the sins a person has committed; and also that a person is alarmed in his heart and fears God’s judgment and wrath against him.  The second part is [the] faith in Jesus Christ, through which the sinner must again raise himself up and conclude that his sins are forgiven him for Christ’s sake, and God receives him in his grace.  Then from this follows comfort and peace of conscience.

The Lord Christ Himself witnesses that Christian repentance consists of these two points in Mark Chapter 1.  There He says, “Do penance [Repent] and believe in the Gospel.”  In the same way, Paul in Acts 20 said, “I have proclaimed to you the whole counsel of God, and both to the Jews and Greeks testified of repentance toward God and faith in Christ.”

The beginning of true repentance is the knowledge of sins, that we humble ourselves before the Divine Majesty and recognize ourselves to be guilty, and also letting ourselves be sorry from the heart that we have provoked [erzuernet] the holy, righteous [fromm] God, fearing His serious judgment and wrath against us.  Because that is God’s will: that one knows that He has no pleasure in sin, but instead is sin’s foe, and He also wants us to be the enemies of sin.  He also wants us to recognize what kind of wretchedness we have come into through sin, and what kind of punishment we have earned.  Thus we might also be assured of the great mercy which He has shown to us, and the great deliverance of the Son of God, who has made satisfaction for our sins.  A sick or wounded person who does not recognize the extent of his injuries, if he does not greatly respect the doctor, will not be serious about taking the medicine he prescribes.  So it is also with sinners.

For this reason, God still strongly preaches the law on earth, so that all the world would learn what sin is, how severely God is angry against our sins, how they have earned eternal punishment, and that no man on earth lives without sins.  For that reason, everyone should fear God’s wrath.  But besides the Law-preaching he also lets all manner of terrifying punishments and plagues go out over the world, such as war, pestilence…[? Something zeit]…sickness, poverty, hunger, misery, fire, flood, bad weather [?], …Because the world still doesn’t want to believe that God is so violently angry against sin, Satan also blinds mankind and makes sin seem light and insignificant.

But one only has to look at how God punished the first world with the sin-flood, how he turned Sodom and Gomorrah inside out, how He let Jerusalem and the whole Kingdom be ravaged, how He often loads little children with grave sickness, and that sin could not have been put away unless God’s Son Himself had suffered, because God is a serious and [?] God who hates sins to such an extent that He not only wants to punish them in the parents but also the children until the third and fourth generation.  Because of that whoever from his heart wants to be converted, he must not remain in sins, and must not still have joy or pleasure in them, but instead must stop [living in conscious, willful sin] and be heartily sorry that he has angered God with his sins.  About this St. Bernard says excellently: Fides solatium est, non eget ille solatio, qui laetatur cum malefecerit.  “Faith is a comfort, but he needs no comfort who still rejoices and has pleasure when he has done evil.”

The whole sermon and postil in German can be found here:http://digitale.bibliothek.uni-halle.de/vd16/content/pageview/4315651

Snippets from Wikipedia bio:

Heshusius came from an influential family in Wesel. He was a student of Philipp Melanchthon at the University of Wittenberg and was consequently close to him. During the time of the Augsburg Interim, he lived in Oxford and Paris. In 1550 he took his master’s degree and was received by the Senate of the philosophical faculty; he lectured on rhetoric and as well as theology. In 1553 he became Superintendent in Goslar and acquired his doctoral degree in Wittenberg on May 19 the same year at the expense of the city. However, he soon came into conflict with Goslar and left in 1556 to take a post at the University of Rostock.

There too he became involved in a dispute over Sunday weddings and the participation of Protestants in Roman Catholic celebrations. After attempting to excommunicate two leading city officials, he was expelled from the town. Melanchthon was able to arrange his appointment as general superintendent of the church of the Electoral Palatinate in Heidelberg. In 1559 a controversy broke out in Heidelberg over the Lord’s Supper between Heshusius and his deacon Wilhelm Klebitz…He became involved in another controversy over the Lord’s Supper in Bremen, which did not redound to his glory, opposing Albert Hardenberg and Jacob Probst. From Magdeburg, he composed responses to his opponents and endeavored to establish a strict form of Lutheranism. He likewise came into conflict in Magdeburg and was driven from the town…

An able theologian, but excessive in his self-righteousness, he was exemplar of the spirit of early Protestant Orthodoxy.

His excessive self-righteousness was an expensive hobby.  If only he was more moderate in his self-righteousness, and realized, like Lutherans do now, that it displeases God if we read the bible for any other reason than to find principles for living or think that we should be dogmatic about anything the bible says beyond, “Yes, Jesus loves me…”

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Prayer for the Third Sunday in Lent–Johannes Eichorn

O Lord God, Heavenly Father!  You allowed Your Son, our Lord Christ Jesus, to become man, in order that He might check the devil’s tyranny and guard us against the evil foe.  We give You thanks for this merciful relief, but we beg You still more: that You would remain with us, watch over us for our safety, and through Your Holy Spirit graciously hold us fast in Your Word and the fear of You, so that we may abide in peace in the face of the wicked foe until the end, and through Your Son become blessed for eternity.  Amen.

Prayer when caught in sin–God’s comfort for grieving sinners.

P1030931“Question: Which are repentant sinners?

Answer:

They are such men who are truly, likewise, conceived and born in sin; and they also are by nature sinners, who also commit sins more often than is good. But they know their nature and how evil sin is, they fear God’s wrath and punishment, which He threatens because of sin.  They also know that even without [those threats] it is unjust to insult God with disobedience, from Whom we have [received] body and soul and all things.  Repentant sinners on account of are in distress that they are sinners and commit sin, or have always done so.  … and therefore they  are wary of themselves with great seriousness.  They also believe that God for the sake of His Son Jesus Christ wants the remaining sins in the flesh, along with all others, to pardon and remit out of grace, and so a repentant sinner ascribes also all good to God his Lord and creator, hoping, trusting and relying on His grace alone, which has come to him.

Question: What does God say to such repentant sinners?

Answer:

In the 34th Psalm the Holy Ghost says, The Lord is near to them who are of a broken heart, and helps those who have a crushed soul.  And those are the sinners who (so) through the Law (which is a hammer which shatters the rocks/boulders–Jeremiah the 23rd.) are stricken and terrified so that they are truly of a broken heart and are forced to wail.  And the Lord wants to be near them because He does not want to extinguish the smoldering wick, neither to break the bruised reed.  Is. 42, Matt. 12.

 

But he saves and refreshes/quickens/renews only through His Word./  Psalm. 107  He sent His Word, and made them whole/ and delievered them/ that they might not die.  Psalm 119.  My soul lies in the dust; quicken me according to Your Word.  And again in the same Psalm–If Your commandment were not my comfort, I would have died in my affliction/adversity.  Jeremiah the 15th.  Your Word, Lord, is the joy and comfort of our hearts.  God the Lord says further about such sinners in Ezekiel the 18th chapter.  Where the godless is turned from all his sins which he has done and keeps all my laws and does what is right and good, so shall he live and not die.  His transgressions which he has committed will no more be remembered.  But instead shall he live for the sake of the righteousness which he does.

 

What do you mean, says God–that I have good pleasure at the death of the godless, and not much more that he is converted from his ways and lives?  Also Christ Himself said, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that does penance/ repents.  That is indeed truly altogether comforting, and so much said, that the sinner who thus does penance/ is converted and amends himself, is in God’s grace, and his prayers therefore will be heard.

That is why also the dear Luther comforted such sinners; because he knew that they are always afflicted by their sins and stupidly think that each time they fall into sin, they reckon immediately–“It is all over”, and in a flash they [think they?] no longer can pray.  And Luther said about the 16th chapter of John that whether they have just fallen, or now and again even get stuck in sin, just as long as the fear and terror, or the displeasure at the sins is there.  Since they hate their sins and mourn them, they should by no means despair of prayer and simply remain there, lying prostrate in their sin.  They should not let themselves be scared off by anything.  They should say to thoughts of quitting [praying], no, as I live! Instead only quickly ([Luther] says) begin to pray, even in the middle of the sin, even while you are still feeling tormented by the sin. What you have done only freshens the stream [of prayer].   Regarding worthiness and unworthiness, whether you just now fell, and just extricated yourself from the sin, or whether you are still stuck in the middle of it, always, even in the middle of the sin,  kneel and pray from the heart, Oh dear Father, forgive me, and help me out of this!”

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