The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel: Thesis XIV

“In the tenth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when faith is required as a condition of justification and salvation, as if a person were righteous in the sight of God and saved, not only by faith, bu also on account of his faith, for the sake of his faith, and in view of his faith” (C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel reproduced from the German edition of 1897 by W.H.T. Dau (St. Louis: Concordia, 1986), 3).

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4 thoughts on “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel: Thesis XIV

  1. It means that faith (a gift from God) is only “the open hand” that receives salvation from God, and God does not save us _because_ of our faith, as if it was a good work that we do. Walther is just making the distinction between what Lutherans believe and how some others (including Lutherans) have described faith (e.g., God saves us in light of the faith He sees we will have at some point in the future).

    Tim

  2. Likewise, Walther is rebuking those who see salvation as some sort of exhorting the pagans to the truly good work of having faith in Jesus, as if this was some righteous thing one could do that earns God’s forgiveness.

    This also includes things like, “What? You aren’t certain that you’re saved? Well, then *you need to* trust Jesus more, put your faith in him more, make a real decision for him, really get baptized this time, etc…”

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