#51- The Fruits And Good Works of Marriage

“Accordingly, a happy and joyous marriage is very rare; for people do not distinguish the work of God from original sin. But Holy Scripture honors marriage with true and most ample praises and shows how it is the source and origin of the household, the state, and the church, which derive their origin and growth from it so far as their substance is concerned. In the church one seeks the glory of God; in the state, peace; and in the household, the rearing of children. In addition, marriage comprises a huge number of good works and fruits.

Hence God, Abraham, and those who are truly godly regard marriage in a manner that is far different from the view held by the pope, who considers only the lust and the pleasure, that is, original sin, and then also the cross and the afflictions in marriage.

Meanwhile, however, God, in His accustomed mercy, bears with the faults and the punishments of the original evil, because they are hidden, being covered by the blessing and the marvelous abundance of good works, These fruits the papists do not see but call them civil, secular, and carnal works. Consequently, they look at them as a horse and a mule does (Ps. 32:9). Their judgment is not in accord with Scripture, which points out the fruits and good works of marriage. Indeed, the heathen, too, approved of marriage and wanted to compel their youth to marry, in order that human society might be preserved. But those who, like the papists and the monks, avoided the accustomed troubles and vexations have devised unusual endeavors, works, and orders designed to please themselves and God. Thus even though they saw, they did not see the things that have been mentioned” (Luther’s Works, v.4 p.249-250).

#50- Praising the Dignity of Marriage

“But the ungodly give consideration to the vituperations and the inconveniences of marriage and therefore shun it and fall into the works of the flesh: uncleanness, fornication, and adultery, of which Paul says in Gal. 5:21: “Those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

I am discussing these matters rather carefully and extensively because I see that the Holy Spirit did not disdain to describe His own work at such great length. Ungodly and wicked men, who suppose that everything happens by chance, understand nothing in the Holy Scriptures and the creatures of God. But it is our duty to read and to instruct others, in order that from Holy Scripture we may gain knowledge of the creatures, and from the creatures of the Creator.

Scripture points out that God’s creature has been blinded and marred. For this reason it praises the dignity of marriage at such great length. We are to learn, and to teach others that marriage is not to be held in slight esteem, as the flesh and the world are in the habit of doing. They do not consider what marriage is but take into account only concupiscence, lust, and sensual pleasure. They strive for ease and riches, which are original sin itself, by which our wretched nature is horribly contaminated. Therefore instead of the pleasure and enjoyment hoped for, they eventually find vexation, grief, and trouble” (Luther’s Works, v.4 p.248-249).

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt.12: Helpful Observations

Class #12:  This week we  examined a host of Bible passages which bear witness to our one God and three persons.  Applying the rules we learned concerning the internal and external works of  the Trinity, we went through some useful and helpful observations that can help us in clearly speaking about the Holy Trinity–so that we neither confound the persons, nor divide the substance.

Handout: opera ad extra and opera ad intra July 15
Handout 2: Trinity and Unity Heresies July 15 (yellow sheet)
[Picture: Pr. Henson in front of Christ Lutheran Church (Richmond, MO)

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 11: The External Works of the Trinity

Class #11:  Last week we learned that the external works of God are undivided.  “When God outside His essence works something among His creatures, then the three persons are together and work together, because there is one doer and maker.”  The corollary, which needs to be maintained, is: “For in the external works the three persons are together and work together, AND YET with a certain order and with the properties of each person preserved” (p.75)

Thus, we maintain the order and properties of each person!  Only the second person of the Trinity took on human flesh.  Therefore, we cannot say, “The Father took on human flesh.”  But we can say, “God took on human flesh.”  We can say that when Jesus died for us, God died for us, or that the death is the work of God.  Similarly, when Jesus was born, we call Mary the theotokos, the God-bearer.

Handout:  opera-ad-extra-and-opera-ad-intra.pdf
Handout 2:  Trinity-and-Unity-Heresies-July-15.pdf

#49- Help For The Inconveniences of Marriage

“Accordingly, this is a very fine chapter not only for doing honor to marriage but also for comforting the consciences of those who experience the inconveniences of marriage.

Inexperienced young people do not see the annoyances and burdens of marriage beforehand. Nor do they consider that they have the devil as their enemy. He hates the begetting of children as well as the respect, the mutual love, and the harmony of spouses. The bridegroom and the bride do not trouble themselves about these things. Therefore they should be taught to bring this trust with them: ‘Lord God, I have entered into this kind of life in accordance with Thy will and with an appeal for Thy help. Thou wilt give the grace and the blessing, that I may be able to bear the burdens that lie ahead.’ To this prayer God undoubtedly gives assent and answers: ‘Let what is being asked for be done.’” (Luther’s Works, v.4 p.248).

Theology Summary Bible Class, Part 10: The Works of the Trinity

Class #10:  How do we speak about the Triune God?  The Athanasian Creed correctly instructs us that we need to do it “not confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.”  In order to speak correctly, we must understand where the Holy Scriptures are speaking about the unity of God and where they are speaking about the Trinity of persons.

There are two rules to help us.  1. The external works of God are undivided.  “When God outside His essence works something among His creatures, then the three persons are together and work together, because there is one doer and maker.”   2. The internal works of God are divided.  “The works which God does outside of all created things, within Himself, are not common to the three persons, but are peculiar to only one person, so this it is characteristic of the Father to beget, of the Son to be begotten, and of the Holy Spirit to proceed from both.”  (Loci Theologici, p.74)

Handout: opera ad extra and opera ad intra

#48- Get God’s Help When Seeking a Spouse

“But one should not feel or think about this kind of life after the fashion of the heathen. No, one should acknowledge God as the Creator, and one should bend the knee in humility and implore Him in faith to bestow a companion and bedmate. When this spirit and faith are associated with the invocation; then one will be able to take care of everything else in a reasonable manner, to deal with one’s parents, and to listen to their advice. Later on, if everything does not turn out according to your wish, you nevertheless have this comfort: “I have prayed. I have asked God, my parents, and my relatives for advice. If anything untoward happens, I shall bear it calmly.” For it is a great comfort to have God as a Witness and Supporter, and one’s parents and relatives as confidants and advisers.

On the other hand, if you have entered into a marriage at your own risk and without the knowledge of your parents, it will everlastingly trouble and distress your heart. You will say: “Behold, I am being punished for my foolishness and obstinacy. I have displeased my parents; and I, in turn, am being burdened with every kind of misfortune.” That is an unbearable cross” (Luther’s Works, v.4 p.248).

Theology Summary Bible Class Pt.9: Face to Face

Class #9:  We think that God is working, when we are victorious and everything is going our way.  When tragedy hits, we think that God has abandoned us. That kind of thinking  is dead wrong.  We learned from Jacob’s wrestling with God(Gen 32) and Manoah’s visit from God that we don’t recognize God. We don’t have spiritual receptors. Like Moses we want to see the glory (Ex 33:18). God tells him, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (v.20). God promises to go with Moses and show him goodness, graciousness, and compassion. The Divine Service proclaims those same promises of forgiveness and Jesus’ presence with His church.  We call that revelation proclaiming “the name of the Lord” (v.19). With that promise revealed to us in the Word, we can face anything, even death.  God is mightily working through suffering and the cross.  Sometime after the fact, we get to see God’s back–where He has been working.

The prophet Moses is unlike any other prophet.  Moses does get to talk with God like a man speaks to his friend face-to-face, mouth-to-mouth. He doesn’t see the essence of God(Jn 4:24), but a similtude or form(Num 12:8).

Handout: Jacob Wonderful Name
Handout: The Name of the Lord Jun 24 2018

#47- A Marriage of Mutual Love

“What is more desirable than a happy and peaceful marriage, where mutual love reigns and there is a most delightful union of the hearts? A marriage of this kind is praised everywhere as a miracle. When I, as a young man, heard such commendations and praise of an honorable and happy marriage—likewise, when I read in Paul (Eph. 5:25): “Husbands, love your wives”—I used to wonder why this happened and what purpose it served to give exhortations and precepts about the love of spouses among whom one could often find not only love but even passion.

But experience has taught me that out of many marriages hardly one merits praise. From this fact stem those common disparaging statements: “The bed in which a wife lies is never free from wranglings and mutual bickerings.” On this account many men are most vehemently averse to marriage” (Luther’s Works, v.4 p.247-248).