Tag Archives: Gospel

“It is finished”

This post speaks for itself quite well.

Eilers Pizza

2016-03-23 11.22.22 Christ’s cross, by my daughter, Erin

Among the things that I found myself saying after several years as a pastor regards the character of God, that He is love, and merciful, and generous, and just, and faithful, and when talking about the person and work of our Savior, Jesus, I continually found myself asking, “Who wouldn’t love a God like that?”

To love God, we have to properly understand God. And, in the Lord Jesus’ Good Friday declaration from the cross, “It is finished (John 19:30),” we have the foundation laid for a proper understanding of God.

The problem with us is that we constantly take those words out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus as if He never spoke them, as if He did not complete the work of saving us, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our…

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The question of sin (4 of 4)

In this final installment of the series, The Question of Sin, Greg cuts to the heart of the matter and lays his cards out on the table.

Eilers Pizza

I remain in full unity with the doctrines of God as we believe, teach, and confess them in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). While I have been advocating some things with which many (not all) in the LCMS do not agree, and I believe the one study on gender dysphoria published by us is greatly lacking, there is no doctrine of the LCMS with which I am in disagreement.

That I have some disagreement with my church body is not unusual. If you can find two LCMS pastors who agree on the practice of every teaching, even as they confess the same doctrine, then I’ll let you buy me a pizza to tell me about it.

In going public with my condition and my arguments, concern was expressed that I might lead some into sin, and that I might announce that transitioning is a fine and dandy thing. I have…

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‘I never knew you — depart from me’

Such a powerful and important blog post. Let it serve to us as a great reminder. May this be of benefit to those of us who stumble and forget.

Churchmouse Campanologist

Matthew HenryAlong with the instruction to build our spiritual houses upon rock, another passage in Matthew 7 from the Sermon on the Mount which bears close scrutiny is our Lord’s teaching on who will be turned away from the kingdom of heaven.

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

It is in the three-year Lectionary. One can only wonder about the sermons preached on it. Any number of clergy — as well as congregants —…

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Dear America, What Happened To One Nation Under God?

I was writing another post for today that was going to be titled “A Nation of Rebels.” However, after reading this, I think this sums up my thoughts quite nicely. Perhaps I shall rework my original post for later. I do not know, but for now, read this wonderful thing.

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My confession and faith

Eilers Pizza

The most important thing I could ever write
The problem of God: part three

The problem with God is me.

I know what His Word says. I believe every word of it. I know that, because of Adam’s sin, I was born with Original Sin and, therefore, I am by this nature sinful and unclean, which causes me to sin in thought, word, and deed. I know that Jesus Christ paid for my sins, that believing in Him I have eternal life (John 3:16) and being baptized into His Name I am clothed with Him (Galatians 3:27) so that God the Father sees me as holy as the Holy One, His Son.

I know that the Lord made us male and female. I believe what He says about marriage. I know that I am a man, married to a woman, the father of five children, an ordained minister in a…

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Sin is an STD

A friend of mine once said that life is an STD with a 100% mortality rate. Logically, it’s a pretty accurate statement, that is until you remember that we were not made to die.

When God told Adam about the tree of knowledge of good and evil that, “On the day you eat of it you will surely die,” he wasn’t kidding. When they disobeyed the command of the Lord, they became infected with sin. From that point forth, it has been transmitted to every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. Through intercourse we are given both life and the disease that our parents inherited from their parents and so forth all the way back to Adam.

Sin is such a vile disease that it kills everything it touches. It is unlike any other disease in existence. Not only is it spread sexually, but it is also airborne and spread through simple contact. And when your own sin mixes with other sin, you become sicker and sicker and you infect more and more. Such an epidemic of which there is no compare.

Men and women over the centuries have often tried to find a cure or vaccine, even to this day, but it is all to no avail. It is to great a disease. In cases of great epidemic, it is at times crucial to burn anything that could be contaminated to prevent the spread. In the case of sin, it is absolutely necessary burn all that is contaminated. It is that horrible.

So, what are we to do? What can we do? All human efforts have been for naught.

I watched a movie once where a disease caused people to attack and eat other people. There was no cure for this disease. The only solution was death. In the special features section of the DVD, they had discussed a plan to cure one of the characters. There was only one problem: the cure would actually kill him too. See, the disease was in the blood and the writers realized that if they could just replace the blood, then he would be saved. In order to replace the blood, they would have completely drain the man of all blood, then basically bleach his insides clean, and finally put new blood in him. The process would not only kill him but actually sounds worse than the disease. I don’t know about you, but I imagine I’d probably rather go crazy and eat another man’s flesh than have my insides bleached.

And yet, that is exactly the cure for sin. We are infected with a disease and the only way to get rid of it is to wash it out and replace it with clean blood. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He was born without sin and was executed for ours. His shed blood has washed away our sin. Our sin still kills us. It has done its damage. But we are not cast to the fire as those still infected as we will be with Christ, pure and without sin.

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A shift in focus

“Corruption entered the Church when Law and Gospel began to be confounded. A perusal of the writings of the Church Fathers soon reveals the cause of the Church’s misery in those early days: people did not know how to distinguish properly between Law and Gospel. Up to the sixth century we still find glorious testimonies exhibiting this distinction, but from that time on we notice that this light is growing dim and that the distinction is gradually forgotten.”

Above is an excerpt from Thesis IV of C.F.W. Walther’s Proper Distinction between Law & Gospel. I found that particular excerpt to be of interesting note as I can see this clearly in many churches today that bring in strange winds of doctrine. It’s like if the focus is allowed to shift, it will continue to shift until it is so far away from the original that it bears little resemblance what the text actually says. Walther shortly after brings up monastic life and the text of the rich young ruler as an example. Law and Gospel were not properly distinguished and as such, the reply to the rich young ruler was seen to be taken as action for salvation. One can’t help but think this confounding of Law and Gospel is also why Rome has rules against priests marrying as well. That shift in focus has taken them away from what the text really says.

At the very least, it makes me really want to go back and read some of the writings of the early church fathers. As Christians, myself included, we don’t do that nearly enough as we should. What, I wonder, would more churches be like today if more of us did that with some regularity?

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Acceptance

This is kind of a follow up post to my last one. I’ve started read C.F.W. Walther’s The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel when there came to a part about accepting faith. Upon first glance, it seems to indicate salvation is in fact something that you have to accept, but when you read it carefully, you’ll realize that the type of acceptance he is referring to isn’t transactional but instead simply taking something for what it is.

But does not the Gospel demand faith? Yes; that, however, is just the same kind of command as when you say to a hungry person, “Come, sit down at my table and eat.” The hungry person will not reply: “Bosh! I will not take orders from you.” No, he will understand and accept your words as a kind invitation. That is what the Gospel is—a kind invitation to partake of heavenly blessings.

I like this portion because at first it sounds like it’s something we choose to do, IE accept the gospel. But when you really look at it and think about it, Walther doesn’t appear to be using the word accept as most Christians today would. Instead, he appears using it more in terms of “recognition of a fact” instead of “choosing to do something.” You don’t accept the gospel on your own doing or merits but you just have faith and because it is given to you, you accept that you have it. To better explain it, let’s say that I have a stapler. I accept the fact that it’s a stapler because that’s what it is. Likewise, the faith that the Gospel demands isn’t something I accept in the sense that I choose it, but I accept the fact that I have it through no decisions of my own.

Notice how Walther says that, “he will understand and accept your words as a kind invitation.” He does not say he is accepting a kind invitation. NO! He is saying that he is accepting your words for exactly what they are, a kind invitation. So when you are given faith and the forgiveness of sins, you simply accept that you have it. You do not accept it in the transactional sense that by accepting it, you are doing something to merit this forgiveness.

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Merry Christmas

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. A time after that, he created man and man sinned against God. When man sinned against God, he separated himself from the holiness that is God. Death entered the world and condemned all who dwelled in it. Man, in his pride, tried every way to achieve salvation. He toiled in false idols and works, yet not could save him for all were perceived as filthy menstrual rags in the eyes of a just and holy God. Through his actions, man condemned himself to the eternal fires of Hell. God, being just and holy and having no desire to see any of the man who He created burn with the devil and his angels offered a ways of Salvation. He needed a sacrifice.

So God in his wisdom sacrificed a man to for the sins of all. This man would be a perfectly innocent man whose blood would atone for the sins of everyone who has ever lived and ever will lived. But where in the world did such a man exist? Nowhere. So God came down as a man, birthed from a virgin. Having been born from a virgin, He did not know sin. Not knowing sin, sin did not exist within him. Being God and of God, He could not sin. Therefore His sacrifice was perfect. His perfect sacrifice, His perfect atonement. Praise be to Christ who was born for my sin, for your sin.

Merry Christmas

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Thank God for great preachers

In a day when the good sermons seem to be outnumbered by the bad, we should give immense thanks to God for the great pastors that he has blessed us with.  It is here that I would just like to name a few.  Pastor Bill Cwirla of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, CA.  Pastor Craig Donofrio of God Whisperers fame.  Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church of the AALC in Oslo, MN.  Retired Pastor Greg Eilers, formerly pastor in Port Hope Michigan.  He should totally come out of retirement and plant a new church.  Perhaps in Maine because three is far too few.  Pastor Jonathan Fisk, host of Worldview Everlasting.  LCMS President Matt Harrison, may his reign be long and fruitful.  Pastor Todd Wilken of Issues Etc.  And my own Paul Nielsen of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Waterville, ME.  These are men that every time you hear them preach, you are guaranteed both law and gospel, exactly what every sermon should be.  There are many others out there and if you’ve got a pastor that preaches like these do, hang on to them.  They’re giving you exactly what you need.

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