Saturday, October 4, 2014

Details on the new site and continuing your subscription

I've decided to leave this blog up indefinitely to help people find the new one and more easily access previous content.


The address of the new blog is http://thescrupeblog.blogspot.com .


RSS and email subscription feeds can be found there.

Friday, October 3, 2014

This blog is moving

For technical reasons (I can't get the template to stop displaying recent posts twice), I'm going to delete it and re-publish it at http://thescrupeblog.blogspot.com. In fact, the new blog is up now. Future updates will be posted there. In a day or so, you will also find links there for continuing your subscription to this blog, which I will delete at the end of October. Hope to see you at the blog's new site!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's not about your repentance, either

It was Norman Nagel, the great blessed Norman Nagel who talked about adverbs being the great enemy of the Gospel... I deeply repent, I am deeply sorry... Bah! I repent in a half-assed way, at best and I am sorry, sort of, but it's really split up and corroded. That's all we can do. Even our confession sucks. But the gracious God in Jesus Christ says, 'Be of good cheer my son, your sins are forgiven. Peace be unto you,' and all is based on Christ, not us.
- Rod Rosenbladt, Confessing Your Sins

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ's victory- and ours!

Awake, My Heart, with Gladness
By: Paul Gerhardt



1. Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings it flight.




2. The foe triumph shouted
When Christ lay in the tomb;
But lo, he now is routed,
His boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free;
In glorious victory
He who is strong to save
Has triumphed over the grave.




3. This is a sight that gladdens
What peace it does impart!
Now nothing ever saddens
The joy within my heart.
No gloom shall ever shake,
No foe shall ever take
The hope which God’s own Son
In love for me has won.




4. Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their power are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all its might
Cannot my soul affright;
It is a powerless form,
However it rave and storm.




5. Now I will cling forever-
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whatever he passes through.
He rends death’s iron chain;
He breaks through sin and pain;
He shatters hell’s grim thrall
I follow him through all.




6. He brings me to the portal
That leads to bliss untold,
Whereon this rhyme immortal
Is found is script of gold: "
Who there my cross has shared
Finds here a crown prepared;
Who there with me has died
Shall here be glorified."




Hymn # 128 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Johann Cruger
Tune: Auf, Auf, Mein Herz
First Published in: 1648

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tετέλεσται


The word τετέλεσται- the sixth of Christ's Seven Last Words from the Cross- is usually translated "It is finished." But it has a much deeper meaning than that.

 In the ancient world, it was the word that would be written across a canceled bill. "Tετέλεσται" meant "paid in full."

 Jesus actually spoke Aramaic, of course, But the word τετέλεσται- the word the Holy Spirit uses in Scripture to express His thought- conveys far more than meets the eye. It conveys the most essential thing about Christ's suffering and death: its completeness, not merely as satisfaction to His Father's justice for every sin you have ever committed or ever will ever commit, but its having left nothing undone. Even your repentance and faith are His doing in you through the Word, and not your own contribution needed somehow to complete some unfinished business left over from Golgotha.

It's not just that Jesus has already paid for your sin. It's that you don't have to look to the quality of your own repentance, or of your faith, or anything else of your own for assurance of God's constant love and forgiveness. All you have to do is to look precisely away from yourself and your own supposed contributions to forgiveness, to Jesus.
Tετέλεσται. "Paid in full." There is nothing else for you to do or worry about doing. Your sin cannot hurt you as long as you look away from your own efforts and merits, to Jesus. He has done it all. Tετέλεσται. It is finished. Paid in full!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dead to the Law, alive to Christ


Here Paul is the most heretical of heretics; and his heresy is unheard-of, because he says that, having died to the Law, he lives to God.

The false apostles taught: "Unless you live to the Law, you do not live to God. That is, unless you live according to the Law, you are dead in the sight of God."

But Paul teaches the opposite: "Unless you are dead to the Law, you do not live to God."

Martin Luther, Galatians (1535) (LW 26:156)

Friday, March 7, 2014

The bottom line


Lord Jesus,
You are my righteousness,
I am your sin.

You took on you what was mine;...
yet set on me what was yours.

You became what you were not,
that I might become what I was not.

- Martin Luther

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The greatest heretic in American history

This is basic church history for some of us. But for most American Christians, it'll be an eye-opener:



If you've been hurt by the Church...

New Reformation Press provides these free of charge. Seldom has anyone done the Christian world- and especially former Christians who have been hurt by the Church- a greater online service.





A lecture by Dr. Rosenbladt, which forms a kind of "sequel," can be downloaded here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"This shall be my faith!"


Because of my inborn wickedness and weakness so far it has been impossible for me to satisfy God’s claims. 

If I may not believe that God, for Christ’s sake, will forgive me the daily mourned lag, it would be over with me. 

I would have to despair, but I won’t let that happen. 
Like Judas hang myself on a tree, I will not do that. 
I will hang myself (cling) to the neck or foot of Jesus Christ, like the sinful woman. 
Even though I am worse then her, I will hold tight to my Lord. 

Then he will speak to the Father: 

Though (he) never kept any (promises) and broke each of your commandments, 
Father, but (he) clings to me. 
Never mind! 
I died for him as well. 
Let him slip through.’ 

This shall be my faith!

--Martin Luther

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"...Help Thou mine unbelief!"

I not only believe in Christ, but I know that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father to be our Mediator and to intercede for us. I know that the bread and the wine in the Lord’s Supper are the body and blood of Christ and that the word of the pastor, whether he preaches or absolves, is the Word of God. Yet the flesh is weighed down by doubt, so that it does not believe these things. This is great wretchedness and is bitterer than death itself. Indeed, the reason why death is bitter is that the hindrances of the flesh prevent us from believing. Otherwise affliction would be a joy, and death would be a sleep for us who believe.
 
We should deplore these evils, which are implanted in us through Adam as a result of original sin, and we should pray God to increase and strengthen faith in us and to sustain us under the heaven of the forgiveness of sins...

Martin Luther
Luther’s Works, AE 5:21,
Lectures on Genesis,
Genesis 26:5

Friday, August 9, 2013

Screwtape advises Slubgub on the diabolical misdirection play

It's especially effective for people with OCD:
Whenever they are attending to the Enemy Himself (God) we are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success of failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.
--C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

((It's not for nothing that Martin Luther defined sin as "being turned inward on oneself.")

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Patrick Hamilton on the distinction between Law and Gospel


The law saith to the sinner. Pay thy debt; the Gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.

The law saith, Thou art a sinner, despair, thou shalt be damned; the Gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved.

The law saith, Make amends for thy sins; the Gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee.

The law saith, The Father of heaven is angry with thee; the Gospel saith, Christ hath pacified Him with His blood.

The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction? The Gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction.

The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell; the Gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

Patrick Hamilton, Scottish Lutheran theologian and martyr, sealed his testimony with his own blood on February 29, 1528 at St. Andrews, Scotland.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How bad news can be good news

The Lutheran Confessions offer to poor sinners this sweet comfort, that, when God has given them the grace to be alarmed on account of their sins, they are in a fit condition to approach the throne of grace, where they receive forgiveness — the true remedy for their ills. They must indeed have contrition; however, not to the end of acquiring some merit by it, but in order that they may gladly accept what Jesus offers them…

When our Lutheran theologians wrote our Confessions, they sat down to their work as true Christians and did not intend to construct a system of doctrine. They knew in what way a poor sinner is given rest and the consolation of salvation. In the Apology, Melanchthon has spoken like a simple Christian. What has made this Confession all the more precious is that he speaks all that he says from the fulness of Scripture and his own experience.

In 1545 an edition of the Latin writings of Luther was published. In the preface to the first part, Luther relates what was the condition of his heart before he had received the light of the Gospel. He makes a personal confession, saying that, while he was in bondage to the Law, he had read the words of the Apostle Paul that the righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel and had become terrified by that statement. Having been terrified previously by the Law and reading now that in the Gospel, too, the righteousness of God is revealed, he was in an awful dilemma. The Law had condemned him, and now God sent him the Gospel to do the same thing to him! In the Gospel, too, God demanded righteousnes of the sinner!

We cannot sufficiently thank and praise God for giving Luther, shortly before his departure, leisure to relate some of the inner experiences of his life which were to prepare and fit him for the work of the Reformation.

He writes (St. L. Ed. XIV, 446 ff.) : “I verily had a hearty desire, indeed, I was yearning, to understand the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. So far nothing had hindered me except only the single phrase justitia Dei [the righteousness of God] in v. 17 of the first chapter, where Paul says: ‘The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel.’ I was very wroth at this term ‘righteousness of God’ because my training had been according to the usage and practise of all teachers at that time, and I had been told that I must understand this term after the manner of philosophers as signifying that righteousness by which God is righteous in His essence, does right, and works righteousness, and punishes all sinners and unrighteous persons, — what is called justitia formalis seu activa (essential, or active, righteousness). Now, my condition was this: Although I was leading the life of a holy and blameless monk, I discovered that in the sight of God I was a great sinner. Moreover, my conscience was troubled and distressed, nor did I venture to reconcile God with my own satisfactions and merits. For this reason I did not at all love this righteous and angry God, who punishes sinners, but I hated Him and was full of secret anger against Him, and that, in all seriousness. (I am afraid that this was, or may have to be accounted as, blasphemy.) Frequently I would say: Is God not satisfied with having loaded all manner of misery and affliction, besides the terrors and threatenings of the Law, on us poor, miserable sinners, who are already condemned to everlasting death on account of hereditary sin? Must He increase this misery and heartache still more by the Gospel and by its preaching and its message proclaim His righteousness and serious anger and add to our terror? In my confused conscience I was full of indignation. Nevertheless I continued my meditation on blessed Paul, endeavoring, with a great thirst for knowledge and a hearty desire, to ascertain his meaning in this passage. I spent days and nights in these musings, until by the grace of God I perceived the connection of these words in the passage, thus: The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel, as is written: ‘The just shall live by his faith.’ From this connection I learned to understand that righteousness of God by which the righteous lives by the gracious gift of God, through faith alone, and I perceived this to be the apostle’s meaning: By the Gospel that righteousness is revealed which is valid in the sight of God and by which God, from grace and pure mercy, makes us righteous by faith. In Latin this righteousness is called justitia passiva, and to this righteousness the fact refers which says: ‘The just shall live by his faith.’ At this point I immediately felt that I had been entirely born anew and had found a door wide open, leading straight into paradise.”

CFW Walther, Law and Gospel, Twenty-second Evening Lecture (March 13, 1885.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Details on the new site and continuing your subscription

I've decided to leave this blog up indefinitely to help people find the new one and more easily access previous content.


The address of the new blog is http://thescrupeblog.blogspot.com .


RSS and email subscription feeds can be found there.

Friday, October 3, 2014

This blog is moving

For technical reasons (I can't get the template to stop displaying recent posts twice), I'm going to delete it and re-publish it at http://thescrupeblog.blogspot.com. In fact, the new blog is up now. Future updates will be posted there. In a day or so, you will also find links there for continuing your subscription to this blog, which I will delete at the end of October. Hope to see you at the blog's new site!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's not about your repentance, either

It was Norman Nagel, the great blessed Norman Nagel who talked about adverbs being the great enemy of the Gospel... I deeply repent, I am deeply sorry... Bah! I repent in a half-assed way, at best and I am sorry, sort of, but it's really split up and corroded. That's all we can do. Even our confession sucks. But the gracious God in Jesus Christ says, 'Be of good cheer my son, your sins are forgiven. Peace be unto you,' and all is based on Christ, not us.
- Rod Rosenbladt, Confessing Your Sins

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ's victory- and ours!

Awake, My Heart, with Gladness
By: Paul Gerhardt



1. Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings it flight.




2. The foe triumph shouted
When Christ lay in the tomb;
But lo, he now is routed,
His boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free;
In glorious victory
He who is strong to save
Has triumphed over the grave.




3. This is a sight that gladdens
What peace it does impart!
Now nothing ever saddens
The joy within my heart.
No gloom shall ever shake,
No foe shall ever take
The hope which God’s own Son
In love for me has won.




4. Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their power are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all its might
Cannot my soul affright;
It is a powerless form,
However it rave and storm.




5. Now I will cling forever-
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whatever he passes through.
He rends death’s iron chain;
He breaks through sin and pain;
He shatters hell’s grim thrall
I follow him through all.




6. He brings me to the portal
That leads to bliss untold,
Whereon this rhyme immortal
Is found is script of gold: "
Who there my cross has shared
Finds here a crown prepared;
Who there with me has died
Shall here be glorified."




Hymn # 128 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Johann Cruger
Tune: Auf, Auf, Mein Herz
First Published in: 1648

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tετέλεσται


The word τετέλεσται- the sixth of Christ's Seven Last Words from the Cross- is usually translated "It is finished." But it has a much deeper meaning than that.

 In the ancient world, it was the word that would be written across a canceled bill. "Tετέλεσται" meant "paid in full."

 Jesus actually spoke Aramaic, of course, But the word τετέλεσται- the word the Holy Spirit uses in Scripture to express His thought- conveys far more than meets the eye. It conveys the most essential thing about Christ's suffering and death: its completeness, not merely as satisfaction to His Father's justice for every sin you have ever committed or ever will ever commit, but its having left nothing undone. Even your repentance and faith are His doing in you through the Word, and not your own contribution needed somehow to complete some unfinished business left over from Golgotha.

It's not just that Jesus has already paid for your sin. It's that you don't have to look to the quality of your own repentance, or of your faith, or anything else of your own for assurance of God's constant love and forgiveness. All you have to do is to look precisely away from yourself and your own supposed contributions to forgiveness, to Jesus.
Tετέλεσται. "Paid in full." There is nothing else for you to do or worry about doing. Your sin cannot hurt you as long as you look away from your own efforts and merits, to Jesus. He has done it all. Tετέλεσται. It is finished. Paid in full!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dead to the Law, alive to Christ


Here Paul is the most heretical of heretics; and his heresy is unheard-of, because he says that, having died to the Law, he lives to God.

The false apostles taught: "Unless you live to the Law, you do not live to God. That is, unless you live according to the Law, you are dead in the sight of God."

But Paul teaches the opposite: "Unless you are dead to the Law, you do not live to God."

Martin Luther, Galatians (1535) (LW 26:156)

Friday, March 7, 2014

The bottom line


Lord Jesus,
You are my righteousness,
I am your sin.

You took on you what was mine;...
yet set on me what was yours.

You became what you were not,
that I might become what I was not.

- Martin Luther

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The greatest heretic in American history

This is basic church history for some of us. But for most American Christians, it'll be an eye-opener:



If you've been hurt by the Church...

New Reformation Press provides these free of charge. Seldom has anyone done the Christian world- and especially former Christians who have been hurt by the Church- a greater online service.





A lecture by Dr. Rosenbladt, which forms a kind of "sequel," can be downloaded here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"This shall be my faith!"


Because of my inborn wickedness and weakness so far it has been impossible for me to satisfy God’s claims. 

If I may not believe that God, for Christ’s sake, will forgive me the daily mourned lag, it would be over with me. 

I would have to despair, but I won’t let that happen. 
Like Judas hang myself on a tree, I will not do that. 
I will hang myself (cling) to the neck or foot of Jesus Christ, like the sinful woman. 
Even though I am worse then her, I will hold tight to my Lord. 

Then he will speak to the Father: 

Though (he) never kept any (promises) and broke each of your commandments, 
Father, but (he) clings to me. 
Never mind! 
I died for him as well. 
Let him slip through.’ 

This shall be my faith!

--Martin Luther

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"...Help Thou mine unbelief!"

I not only believe in Christ, but I know that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father to be our Mediator and to intercede for us. I know that the bread and the wine in the Lord’s Supper are the body and blood of Christ and that the word of the pastor, whether he preaches or absolves, is the Word of God. Yet the flesh is weighed down by doubt, so that it does not believe these things. This is great wretchedness and is bitterer than death itself. Indeed, the reason why death is bitter is that the hindrances of the flesh prevent us from believing. Otherwise affliction would be a joy, and death would be a sleep for us who believe.
 
We should deplore these evils, which are implanted in us through Adam as a result of original sin, and we should pray God to increase and strengthen faith in us and to sustain us under the heaven of the forgiveness of sins...

Martin Luther
Luther’s Works, AE 5:21,
Lectures on Genesis,
Genesis 26:5

Friday, August 9, 2013

Screwtape advises Slubgub on the diabolical misdirection play

It's especially effective for people with OCD:
Whenever they are attending to the Enemy Himself (God) we are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success of failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.
--C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

((It's not for nothing that Martin Luther defined sin as "being turned inward on oneself.")

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Patrick Hamilton on the distinction between Law and Gospel


The law saith to the sinner. Pay thy debt; the Gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.

The law saith, Thou art a sinner, despair, thou shalt be damned; the Gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved.

The law saith, Make amends for thy sins; the Gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee.

The law saith, The Father of heaven is angry with thee; the Gospel saith, Christ hath pacified Him with His blood.

The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction? The Gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction.

The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell; the Gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

Patrick Hamilton, Scottish Lutheran theologian and martyr, sealed his testimony with his own blood on February 29, 1528 at St. Andrews, Scotland.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How bad news can be good news

The Lutheran Confessions offer to poor sinners this sweet comfort, that, when God has given them the grace to be alarmed on account of their sins, they are in a fit condition to approach the throne of grace, where they receive forgiveness — the true remedy for their ills. They must indeed have contrition; however, not to the end of acquiring some merit by it, but in order that they may gladly accept what Jesus offers them…

When our Lutheran theologians wrote our Confessions, they sat down to their work as true Christians and did not intend to construct a system of doctrine. They knew in what way a poor sinner is given rest and the consolation of salvation. In the Apology, Melanchthon has spoken like a simple Christian. What has made this Confession all the more precious is that he speaks all that he says from the fulness of Scripture and his own experience.

In 1545 an edition of the Latin writings of Luther was published. In the preface to the first part, Luther relates what was the condition of his heart before he had received the light of the Gospel. He makes a personal confession, saying that, while he was in bondage to the Law, he had read the words of the Apostle Paul that the righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel and had become terrified by that statement. Having been terrified previously by the Law and reading now that in the Gospel, too, the righteousness of God is revealed, he was in an awful dilemma. The Law had condemned him, and now God sent him the Gospel to do the same thing to him! In the Gospel, too, God demanded righteousnes of the sinner!

We cannot sufficiently thank and praise God for giving Luther, shortly before his departure, leisure to relate some of the inner experiences of his life which were to prepare and fit him for the work of the Reformation.

He writes (St. L. Ed. XIV, 446 ff.) : “I verily had a hearty desire, indeed, I was yearning, to understand the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. So far nothing had hindered me except only the single phrase justitia Dei [the righteousness of God] in v. 17 of the first chapter, where Paul says: ‘The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel.’ I was very wroth at this term ‘righteousness of God’ because my training had been according to the usage and practise of all teachers at that time, and I had been told that I must understand this term after the manner of philosophers as signifying that righteousness by which God is righteous in His essence, does right, and works righteousness, and punishes all sinners and unrighteous persons, — what is called justitia formalis seu activa (essential, or active, righteousness). Now, my condition was this: Although I was leading the life of a holy and blameless monk, I discovered that in the sight of God I was a great sinner. Moreover, my conscience was troubled and distressed, nor did I venture to reconcile God with my own satisfactions and merits. For this reason I did not at all love this righteous and angry God, who punishes sinners, but I hated Him and was full of secret anger against Him, and that, in all seriousness. (I am afraid that this was, or may have to be accounted as, blasphemy.) Frequently I would say: Is God not satisfied with having loaded all manner of misery and affliction, besides the terrors and threatenings of the Law, on us poor, miserable sinners, who are already condemned to everlasting death on account of hereditary sin? Must He increase this misery and heartache still more by the Gospel and by its preaching and its message proclaim His righteousness and serious anger and add to our terror? In my confused conscience I was full of indignation. Nevertheless I continued my meditation on blessed Paul, endeavoring, with a great thirst for knowledge and a hearty desire, to ascertain his meaning in this passage. I spent days and nights in these musings, until by the grace of God I perceived the connection of these words in the passage, thus: The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel, as is written: ‘The just shall live by his faith.’ From this connection I learned to understand that righteousness of God by which the righteous lives by the gracious gift of God, through faith alone, and I perceived this to be the apostle’s meaning: By the Gospel that righteousness is revealed which is valid in the sight of God and by which God, from grace and pure mercy, makes us righteous by faith. In Latin this righteousness is called justitia passiva, and to this righteousness the fact refers which says: ‘The just shall live by his faith.’ At this point I immediately felt that I had been entirely born anew and had found a door wide open, leading straight into paradise.”

CFW Walther, Law and Gospel, Twenty-second Evening Lecture (March 13, 1885.