Luther on Psalm 51:10

Grace is the continuous and perpetual operation or action through which we are grasped and moved by the Spirit of God so that we do not disbelieve His promises and that we think and do whatever is favorable and pleasing to God.

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Charles Spurgeon on the Parable of the Talents

As I said last week, right now the lectionary is leading us to confront (or be confronted) by some of Jesus’ most confusing, difficult, and I would argue most misunderstood parables.  The following is from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon on the Parable of the Talents.  It doesn’t get much better than this:

This is THE VERDICT OF GRACE. Blessed is the man who shall acknowledge himself to be an unfaithful servant—and blessed is the man to whom His Lord shall say, “You good and faithful servant…” God first gives us Grace and then rewards us for it! He works in us and then counts the fruit as our work. We work out our own salvation, because “He works in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” If He shall ever say, “Well done” to you and to me it will be because of His own rich Grace and not because of our merits! And, indeed, this is where we must all come and where we must all stay, for the idea that we have any personal merit will soon make us find fault with our Master and His service as being austere and hard.”

Charles Spurgeon’s Sermon on the Parable of the Talents June 6, 1880

Forde on “Post-Reformation Lutheranism” (and I would add Christianity in General)

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything from my favorite Lutheran Theologian Gerhard Forde.  Here’s a doozy:

The tragedy of post-Reformation Lutheranism and the theological root of its identity crisis is to be found in the persistent attempt to combine the radical gospel of justification by faith alone with an anthropology that cannot tolerate it…

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Luther on Psalm 51:9

This same petition proves that the doctrine of justification is the kind of thing that can never be learned completely.  Therefore it is true that those who have persuaded themselves that they know it fully have not even begun to learn.

Because every day new struggles arise from Satan and our flesh or the world or our conscience, prompting us to despair, wrath, lust, and other vices, how is it possible for this weakness of ours not to keep falling or breaking?  Then, too, how many concerns arise in this life that gradually make us forget this gladness?  Hence it is supremely necessary that we ask God to pour or sprinkle upon us this hearing of joy so that we are not covered with the sadness that the feeling of sin brings on.”

Steve Brown “Don’t Waste Your Sin”

If you’ve followed this blog for any time you already know I’m a huge fan of Steve Brown.  I came across the following quote at the conclusion of his radio broadcast the other week.  It’s about sexual sin, but I think you can broaden it to include whatever it is you struggle with.  Here it is:

Don’t waste your sin.  You can waste anything in the world, but don’t waste your sin.  It’s there to send you to the one who will love you no matter, no matter what.  And that love becomes the definer that’s even greater than your lust.

For the full broadcast head over to Key Life.

George Whitefield on the Parable of the Bridesmaids

I have to be honest.  For the next three weeks the lectionary will be looking at parables of Jesus that I really dislike.  There I said it!  At first blush in the parables of the bridesmaids, the talents, and the sheep and goats Jesus seems to contradict everything he says (and does) throughout his ministry.  Throughout his life, death, and resurrection Jesus approaches sinners with one-way love irregardless of what they’ve done.  In these final parables though it seems that in the end it is all up to what we do anyway whether its keeping our lamps full of oil, using our talents (not talent like an ability) well, or giving a drink to the thirsty. Continue reading

Luther on Psalm 51:8

Only hearing brings joy.

This is the only way for the heart to find peace before God.  Everything else that it can undertake leaves doubt in the mind…  the forgiveness of sins becomes actual not through works but through hearing…

On this do I build, that God says to me through the brother: ‘I absolve you in the name and merit of Christ.’  I believe this word is true, nor will my faith fail me.

It is ‘built on the rock of the words of the Son of God,’ who cannot lie because He is the Truth.  In this way your minds are filled with joy and the true gladness of the Holy Spirit, which consits wholly in the certainty of the Word in hearing.”

LW Vol. 12