Sunday, February 17, 2008

This is It! A Sermon on Isaiah 45:20-25

Audio mp3

My translation (ok it is rough! that is the point):
Gather and come together
Approach together, refugees of the nations.
They did not know, the ones lifting up wood of idols and praying,
this god will not deliver.
Tell and approach.
They will counsel together: Who has heard from the beginning:
He told him what ever exists is nothing without me.
Turn toward Me and be saved
all the ends of the earth.
For I - God and not another.
(this is an imperative: You be saved)
With myself I took an oath -
it came out of my mouth - righteousness - a word
and not it will return
for to Me every knee will bend; every tongue will confess.
(He speaks righteousness. It is not an adverb, but the noun that came out of His mouth. His
authority is signaled. The deal is done.)

Only in Yahweh, (to me He said), righteousness and strength forever -
it will come to pass,
and they will be ashamed, all the ones being angry at Him.
In Yahweh they will be righteous (justified)
and they will make their boast (glory)
all the seed of Israel.

A mind map of the sermon follows:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Did Walther really say this?

I need some help. I could be entirely wrong in what follows, so please direct me to my errors.

I've been using the book God Grant It (Gerhard Grabenhofer, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 2006) for a my devotions for a few months. These devotions are based on sermons by the prominent theologian C. F. W. Walther, translated from the German by Grabenhofer and compiled by August Crull. Many of the devotions have been great, but I have to admit that I have felt that there are statements here and there that disagreed with Christian teachings. However, they were all superceded by what I read this morning. On page 259, I read this:

The Spirit of God continually drives the converted children of God forward to pursue sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord.
As I read this statement, it seems to be saying that sanctification is a requirement for salvation (i.e. seeing the Lord). In other words, unless one improves himself, lives a better life, he will not be saved. This understanding would be opposed to the teaching that we are saved by Christ's sacrifice on the cross alone. It dramatically opposes it!

Note, you will get a better feel of the context by reading this devotion as a whole. This sentence is not an erratic one by itself but fits into the whole.

Now I am left wondering if Walther really made such a statement in his original? These devotions were translations from his sermons. Is the translation accurate? Did it start from Walther's manuscripts or from notes taken by a parishioner listening to the sermon being preached?

So, the question is: Did Walther really say this?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Psalm 32 - A Sermon from the Poetical Approach

Psalm 32 A Poetical/Literal/Wooden Translation

Here is an Audio Sermon based on this text. Sermon notes follow each verse in Courier font.

Pay attention to who the speaker is and who is being addressed. These switch several times without warning. Initially it begins with no clear speaker or hearer, but rather two verses of proverbial statements.

1. For David--a poem.
Happiness: transgression being forgiven,
sin being covered.

The definition of happiness. Parallel constructs. Not having this is a curse.

2. Happiness: a man whose guilt is not counted to him by Yahweh,
and not in his spirit slack.

Also defines happiness. Imputed guilt - not; imputed righteousness - yes: Romans 4:21-24. Note the three terms: transgression, sins and guilt are repeated in verse 5. The spirit not being slack is perhaps a reference to confident trust in Yahweh.

Now we will switch from the state of happiness to the opposite. The Psalmist begins talking about himself to no one in particular.

3. When I was silent
they wore out my bones (body)
because of my distressed cry all the day

Consequences of not having that forgiveness and (per verse 5) confessing one's sins (and hence need for a savior. Perhaps deals with earthly life, but more strongly applies to the eternal punishment of hell.

4. For by day and night your hand will be heavy on me
my juice changed to droughts of Summer.

More description of hell. My essence, described as a fluid (“my juice”) will be dried up. The just will be nothing.

Next, strong punctuation mark (selah) and we switch back to describing what it is that defines happiness. Now the Psalmist addresses Yahweh.


5. My sin I made known to you,
my guilt I did not cover
I spoke: I will confess according to my transgressions to Yahweh
and therefore, you lifted the guilt of my sin.

The Psalmist only states his intentions to confess his sins and the sins are instantly forgiven. No work is done. It does not require confessing all your sins, trying harder, doing better, paying the penalty. No, this is not as the commentaries say. There is no description of the path to righteousness here. Rather, it is the declaration of righteousness with forgiveness.

With the punctuation mark, we switch to Yahweh being the speaker and the prototypical person being addressed, though it switches to the category of the saved individual in the same verse.


6. Upon this, all-kind (all-grace) will intercede toward you
in the specific time for finding
great flood waters will not reach him.

A new name for God! Rather a title: all-kind. You've heard the title “all-knowing” and “all-powerful.” The new one is “all-kind” or “all-grace”. The middle phrase is hard to translate, but I don't think it is what many translations state. Instead it is talking about the time when Yahweh intercedes for us. To particular times are special: when Jesus is on the cross and the Judgement Day. The threated punishment for sins will not touch the one who has grace from Christ.

Next the speaker switches back to the Psalmist who is again addressing God.

7. You a covering to me from a { tight place | an oppressor }
You will keep me
Shouts of “deliver!” You will change me.

Emphasis on the You = Yahweh. He saves us, where being covered is equal to being forgiven. All we do is shout: (you) deliver (us Lord)! and we are changed. See 1 Corinthians 15:52. Next God speaks to the one who is saved.


8. I will look upon you and I will show you in the way which you will go,
My eye {mental faculties} will advise you

Note carefully the tenses. God will show us the way we will go, not the way we should/ought to go. No, that would be the law. This instead is the promise, the Gospel. He is going to show us the eternal life in heaven that awaits us. He will take us there. He will guide us.

9. You will not be as a horse, as a mule, not understanding,
in bridle and jaw-restraint his trappings
to restrain not to approach to you

With God's guidance, we will understand. Now the speaker changes back to the way it began, with no specific speaker but more of proverbial statements directed at both saved and unsaved sinners.

10. Many sorrows to the wicked
but the one trusting in Yahweh
kindness {grace} will transform him.

Same grace as above. All-grace, God is the definition of “grace”. When Grace transforms us, it is just a synonym for God. Lastly the Psalmist speaks to those who are saved.

11. Rejoice in Yahweh and be glad righteous ones.
and sing out all the upright people.

Rejoice over the happiness! Sing about it.