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Romans 4:1-8


What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
 
"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." 
 (ESV)
Preaching Makes It
Friday in Lent 2
26 February 2016
Preaching makes the church. If Christ is the content of the preaching, then the preaching makes the church (Rm 10:17). If Christ is not the content of the preaching, then the church is not made. This is why it is incumbent upon the church to preach Christ and only Christ. This is the whole work and ministry of the Holy Spirit: to present Christ so as to bring His holiness to sinners like us. The Spirit sets the Word of God in our hearts so that Christ becomes for us the One who has done all for us. The Spirit is lacking where legalistic preaching is the order of the day. If the preaching is just bare ethical instruction on how to live your life, then the life of Christ will not be brought to the hearer and the church will not be built and nurtured. Where Christ is not preached, there is no Spirit and there is no church. How does the Holy Spirit make holy?

 

Martin Luther

"Answer, 'By the Christian Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. For in the first place, the Spirit has His own congregation in the world, which is the mother that conceives and bears every Christian through God's Word (Gal 4:26). Through the Word He reveals and preaches, He illumines and kindles hearts, so that they understand, accept, cling to, and persevere in the Word' (1Co 2:12).
 
"Where the Spirit does not cause the Word to be preached and aroused in the heart so that it is understood, it is lost (Mt 13:19). This was the case under the papacy, where faith was entirely put under the bench. No one recognized Christ as his Lord or the Holy Spirit as his Sanctifier. That is, no one believed that Christ is our Lord in the sense that He has gained this treasure for us, without our works and merit (Rm 4:6), and made us acceptable to the Father. What, then, was lacking? This: the Holy Spirit was not there to reveal it and cause it to be preached. But men and evil spirits were there. They taught us to obtain grace and be saved by our works. There is no Christian Church in that. For where Christ is not preached, there is no Holy Spirit who creates, calls, and gathers the Christian church, without which no one can come to Christ the Lord."
 
Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 2.41-45
 
Prayer
Lord Christ, we pray that You would accompany Your Word with Your Spirit, that those who hear it might know You as their Savior from sin, death, and hell. Amen.
 
For Paul Lodholz, that the Lord Jesus would continue to give him peace and strength
 
For Albert Collver, as he travels serving the synod, that he would kept safe in his labors
 
For President Dale Meyer and the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, that they would be strengthened in their service of providing theological leadership to the faithful

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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