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Archive for February 4th, 2017

The following quote is from Walther’s  The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel (originally published 1897;  1928 Edition), pages 326-327.  His comments are on St. Matthew 5: 18-19 which are part of the Gospel reading in the three year lectionary for the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany, year A: 

Matthew 5:18-19 King James Version (KJV)

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The connection in which the Lord uttered these words is worthy of note. In the words preceding them He states that He is come to fulfil the Law. Now, inasmuch as the Lord had to fulfil every law and every commandment in our stead, it is shocking in any man, poor, sinful worm that he is, to want to dispense with a single law of God and to treat it as a matter of no importance. Those who entertain notions of this kind are no Christians. If any man has manufactured for himself some secret comfort from this notion, he has miserably belied and cheated himself. Also in this matter a true Christian manifests himself as a person who fears to commit a single sin.

The Lord also speaks of a person “who shall teach men so.” It is bad enough when a person for his own part disregards some law and leads a careless life; but it is much worse when he preaches his lax views and leads men to perdition by his preaching. He will have to render an account to God of his preaching, and on that day he may not excuse himself by claiming that it was only trifling matters which he had represented as so unimportant that no one need grieve over them. A Christian grieves even over trifles, but unchristians imagine that they can “escape by iniquities,” Ps. 56: 7… That is the slogan of the wicked, just as it is the easy-going way of unconverted people to speak of their iniquities thus: “Well, I can easily make amends, and grass will soon grow over it.” No grass will ever grow over anything for which forgiveness has not been asked of God.

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