EPHESIANS 2:4-8 & PHILIPPPIANS 2:12-13 (READ VARIOUS TRANSLATIONS) OCTOBER 4 TH, Sola Gratia Only Grace

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1 BEHIND THE BOOK Connecting to the Bible (Observation) EPHESIANS 2:4-8 & PHILIPPPIANS 2:12-13 (READ VARIOUS TRANSLATIONS) OCTOBER 4 TH, 2017 Introduction: Sola Gratia Only Grace Historians usually date the start of the Protestant Reformation to the 1517 publication of Martin Luther s 95 Theses. Its ending can be placed anywhere from the 1555 Peace of Augsburg, which allowed for the coexistence of Catholicism and Lutheranism in Germany, to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War. The Thirty Years' War was the deadliest European religious war in history. It took place in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648 and resulted in eight million casualties. Germany lost 40% of its population. Initially a war between various Protestant and Catholic states in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, it gradually developed into a more general conflict involving most of the great European powers. These states employed relatively large mercenary armies. The war was preceded by the election of the new Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, who tried to impose religious uniformity on his domains, forcing Roman Catholicism on its peoples. The northern Protestant states, angered by the violation of their rights to choose that had been granted in the Peace of Augsburg, banded together to form the Protestant Union. (Germany lost 40% of its population during this extended war) Germany Martin Luther Martin Luther ( ) was an Augustinian monk and university lecturer in Wittenberg when he composed his 95 Theses, which protested the pope s sale of reprieves from penance, or indulgences. Although he had hoped to spur renewal from within the church, in 1521 he was summoned before the Diet of Worms and excommunicated. Sheltered by Friedrich, elector of Saxony, Luther translated the Bible into German and continued his output of vernacular pamphlets. 1

2 When German peasants, inspired in part by Luther s empowering priesthood of all believers, revolted in 1524, Luther sided with Germany s princes. By the Reformation s end, Lutheranism had become the state religion throughout much of Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltics. No reformer was more adept than Martin Luther at using the power of the press to spread his ideas. Between 1518 and 1525, Luther published more works than the next 17 most prolific reformers combined. Switzerland John Calvin The Swiss Reformation began in 1519 with the sermons of Ulrich Zwingli (often called the third rail of the Reformation behind Luther and Calvin), whose teachings largely paralleled Luther s. In 1541 John Calvin, a French Protestant who had spent the previous decade in exile writing his Institutes of the Christian Religion, was invited to settle in Geneva and put his Reformed doctrine which stressed God s power and humanity s predestined fate into practice. The result was a theocratic regime of enforced, austere morality. Calvin s Geneva became a hotbed for Protestant exiles, and his doctrines quickly spread to Scotland, France, Transylvania and the Low Countries, where Dutch Calvinism became a religious and economic force for the next 400 years. England William Tyndale In England, the Reformation began with Henry VIII s quest for a male heir. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul Henry s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could remarry, the English king declared in 1534 that he alone should be the final authority in matters relating to the English church. Henry dissolved England s monasteries to confiscate their wealth and worked to place the Bible in the hands of the people. Beginning in 1536, every parish was required to have a copy. After Henry s death, England tilted toward Calvinist-infused Protestantism during Edward VI s six-year reign and then endured five years of reactionary Catholicism under Mary I. In 1559 Elizabeth I took the throne and, during her 44-year reign, cast the Church of England as a middle way between Calvinism and Catholicism, with vernacular (common language) worship and a revised Book of Common Prayer. The Counter Reformation The Catholic Church was slow to respond systematically to the theological and publicity innovations of Luther and the other reformers. The Council of Trent, which met off and on from 1545 through 1563, articulated the Church s answer to the problems that triggered the Reformation and to the reformers themselves. The Catholic Church of the Counter-Reformation era grew more spiritual, more literate and more educated. New religious orders, notably the Jesuits, combined rigorous spirituality with a globally minded intellectualism, while mystics such as Teresa of Avila injected new passion 2

3 into the older orders. Inquisitions, both in Spain and in Rome, were reorganized to fight the threat of Protestant heresy. Summary The Reformers did not see themselves as inventors, discoverers, or creators, according to historian Stephen Nichols. Instead, they saw their efforts as rediscovery. They weren t making something from scratch but were reviving what had become dead. They looked back to the Bible and to the apostolic era, as well as to early church fathers such as Augustine ( ) for the mold by which they could shape the church and re-form it. The Reformers had a saying, Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda, meaning the church reformed, always reforming. Stephen Nichols First: The Reformation was founded on five 'solas' (only): The solas were not systematically articulated together until the 20th century. But sola gratia and sola fidewere used in conjunction by the Reformers themselves. For example, in 1554, Melanchthon wrote, "sola gratia justificamus et sola fide justificamur ("only by grace do we justify and only by faith are we justified"). All of the solas show up in various writings by the Protestant Reformers, but they are not catalogued together by any single Reformer. 1. Sola Scriptura ( Scripture alone ): The Bible alone is our highest authority. 2. Sola Gratia ( grace alone ): We are saved by the grace of God alone. 3. Sola Fide ( faith alone ): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ. 4. Solus Christus ( Christ alone ): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King. 5. Soli Deo Gloria ( to the glory of God alone ): We live for the glory of God alone. Second: A Review of Sola Scriptura Only Scripture What was so important about sola scriptura? Tyndale translated 4 words that made all the difference: congregation, instead of church This robbed the Pope of oversight of a one true and universal church elder instead of instead of priest This made the priest an unnecessary intermediate repentance instead of do penance This lost the church power and money In 1517, a Dominican itinerant named John Tetzel began to sell indulgences near Wittenberg with the offer of the forgiveness of sins. This crass practice had been inaugurated during the Crusades to raise money for the church. Commoners could purchase from the church a letter that allegedly freed a dead loved one from purgatory. Rome profited enormously from this sham. In this case, the proceeds were intended to help Pope Leo X pay for a new St. Peter s Basilica in Rome. This horrible abuse enraged Luther. He determined that there must be a public debate 3

4 on the matter. On October 31, 1517, he nailed a list of Ninety-five Theses (so called because it argued against 95 Catholic practices) regarding indulgences to the front door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. 95 Theses Introduction and first two points: Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. 1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ``Repent'' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance. 2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy. love instead of charity This robbed the church of works-salvation Third: Sola Gratia Only Grace During the Reformation, the Reformed theologians believed the Roman Catholic view of the means of salvation to be a mixture of reliance upon the grace of God, and confidence in the merits of one's own works performed in love, pejoratively called Legalism. These Reformers posited that salvation is entirely comprehended in God's act of free grace, dispensed by the Holy Spirit according to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ alone. Pelagianism Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid. This theological theory is named after the British monk Pelagius ( or 440). Pelagius taught that the human will, as created with its abilities by God, was sufficient to live a sinless life, although he believed that God's grace assisted every good work. Pelagianism was attacked in 415 at the Council of Diospolis (also known as Lydda or Lod), which found Pelagius to be orthodox. But it was later condemned at the Council of Carthage (418) and this condemnation was ratified at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Semi-pelagianism Semi-pelagian thought stands in contrast to the earlier Pelagian teaching about salvation (in which people are seen as effecting their own salvation), which had been dismissed as heresy. Semi-pelagianism in its original form was developed as a compromise between Pelagianism and the teaching of Church Fathers such as Saint Augustine, who taught that people cannot come to God without the grace of God. In semi-pelagian thought, therefore, a distinction is made between the beginning of faith and the increase of faith. Semipelagian thought teaches that the latter half 4

5 growing in faith is the work of God, while the beginning of faith is an act of free will, with grace supervening only later. It too was labeled heresy by the Western Church at the Second Council of Orange in 529. Augustinianism Augustine of Hippo; 13 November August 430, was an early North African Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius in north Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity Among his most important works are The City of God and Confessions. When Augustine read Romans and Galatians he understood that mankind was in such slavery as to be spiritually dead and in complete subservience to original and actual sins. The problem was so severe, according to Augustine, that only God Himself could intervene. Grace most come first. It must awaken our dead hearts and minds to God so that we can respond to the Gospel. Pelagius, on the other hand, was more concerned with antinomianism ( no or against the law) and lawlessness because his observations in Britain were that many Christians were using grace as an excuse and an opportunity for sin. Pelagius therefore emphasized man's ability to choose by free will between doing good and doing evil. Pelagius - Without free will humans cannot be moral. Augustine - Without grace, humans cannot be saved. With free will but without grace, humans will mistake morality for salvation. "God bids us do what we cannot, that we may know what we ought to seek from him." - Augustine "To will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace." - Augustine Late have I loved Thee, O Lord; and behold, Thou wast within and I without, and there I sought Thee. Thou was with me when I was not with Thee. Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness. Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispell my blindness. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace. For Thyself Thou hast made us, And restless our hearts until in Thee they find their ease. Late have I loved Thee, Thou Beauty ever old and ever new - Augustine in The Confessions 5

6 Fourth: A Biblical Basis for Sola Gratia a) Salvation Ephesians 2:4-8 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 1 The Basis of Salvation The richness of God s mercy and great love 4 2 The Problem in Salvation We were dead in our trespasses 5a 3 The Results of Salvation Made us alive together with Christ 5b Raised us up with him 6a Seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus 6b 4 The Purpose of Salvation So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus 7 So that no one can boast 9b For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.10 5 The Means of Salvation By grace you have been saved 5c For by grace you have been saved through faith 8a It is not your (our) own doing 8b It is the gift of God 8c It is not a result of works 9a b) Sanctification Philippians 2: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 6

7 12c 1 The Command to Obey Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling v 2 The Ability to Obey It is God who works in you 13a 3 The Source of Obedience To will (God s will) 13b 4 The Strength of Obedience To work (God s work) 13c 5 The Purpose of Obedience His good pleasure 13d Conclusion: The Reformers rediscovered grace in the midst of a European world dominated by the Roman Catholic's doctrine of works salvation. At the time of Luther, the RCC considered faith to be merely an intellectual assent to the doctrines of the Bible and of the church, a so-called "unformed faith." To become "formed faith," the infusion of grace by means of the church sacraments was necessary. Only then would the believer possess the beginning of inherent righteousness. The dilemma is clear: If God's justification of the believer is a sacramental process, then it is not exclusively by grace or faith in Christ. Further, Christ s work is insufficient, requiring the church s sacraments. Furthermore, in the sacramental infusion of grace, the believer still is not united with Christ and His salvation. Thus, he lacks the certainty of salvation. Instead his natural free will is credited with merits before God if it cooperates with the new inclination of the soul to do good works. In this complicated justification process the goal is to merit and obtain eternal life in due time. This means there cannot be any assurance of salvation. By its doctrinal fixation on justification as a sanctifying process through the sacraments and its stance on the supreme authority of church tradition, the Roman Catholic Church forced the reformation movement to become a separate church, contrary to Luther s intentions. Sola Gratia, for the Reformers, was both scriptural and practical. ILL (Recording turned off for Pastor to demonstrate sola gratia in a counseling scenario.) FYI: The Diet of Speyer or the Diet of Spires (sometimes referred to as Speyer II) was a Diet of the Holy Roman Empire held in 1529 in the Imperial City of Speyer (located in presentday Germany). This second Diet of Speyer condemned the results of the Diet of Speyer of 1526 (which allowed every prince to determine the religious beliefs of his realm) and prohibited future reformation. On April 19, 1529, six princes and representatives of 14 Imperial Free Cities petitioned the Imperial Diet at Speyer against an imperial ban against Martin Luther, as well as the proscription of his works and teachings, and called for the unhindered spread of the evangelical faith. Since this Diet in Speyer (II) the adherents of the reform movement became known as "Protestants", and thus the protestation of the Princes and Free Cities has been seen as the birth of Protestantism. 7

8 Small Groups: 1 Can you recite the five solas from memory? 2 Why did these words get Tyndale killed: congregation, elder, repentance and love? 3 What straw broke the camel s back for Luther? 4 What is Pelagianism? We can choose God and good by our wills alone and without divine intervention. 5 - What is Semi-Pelagianism? We come to God on our own but God s grace is necessary for sanctification. 6 What did Augustine preach? God s grace is necessary for salvation and sanctification. 7 What is the basis of God s salvation? His mercy and great love. 8 What is the problem about salvation? We were dead in our trespasses. 9 What does salvation do? It makes us alive, it raises us and seats us with Jesus. 10 What is the purpose of salvation? So that God can demonstrate the immeasurable riches of his grace in Christ Jesus and so that no one can boast and so that we can complete the good works which God prepared beforehand 11 How does God effect our salvation? By grace, through faith, without our efforts, as a gift and not the result of our works. 12 Discuss how the pastor s illustration demonstrates God s grace, frees us from ourselves and enables us to live the Christian life. Sources: Behind the Book is only one aspect of Heritage s teaching ministry which seeks to employ our church s mission statement: Connecting to God, Growing with Others and Impacting the world. On Wednesday evenings, we connect to Sunday morning s Bible passage and discover what it says through in-depth Bible study. Sunday morning in corporate worship (9:30am) we grow 8

9 from the passage by learning what it means for our daily living. In Community Groups (10:45am) we practically apply the text, being impacted by it and learning to impact the world with it. CGI provides a balanced approach to life and Bible study; an upward look (Connect), an inward look (Grow) and an outward look (Impact) ensuring that our mission fulfils our vision to be a God-centered, Great Commission congregation. It s a well-known and beneficial way to approach the Bible Connect/Observation, Grow/Interpretation, Impact/Application. It s also a Trinitarian approach to Scripture: Connecting to the Father, Growing in Christ and Impacting the world by the Spirit, so that the way we study the Bible daily reminds us about who our God is and how he is unique among all religions of the world. 9

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