Wednesday, March 11, 2015

39 Articles Lent Course Session 3 - Articles 9-18: Sin & Salvation

Articles 9–18 relate to sin & salvation. A coherent package.

Article 9: Of Original or Birth Sin

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized [Latin: renatis et credentibus = regenerated (born again) and believing]; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

Adam didn’t just set us a bad example. Pelagius – British Celtic theologian monk who taught in Rome late 4th and early 5th C – some of his ideas revived by some radical protestants.
Not just that we commit sins but that we are sinners – we have a sinful nature – the necessity of new birth – Jn 3:7. Unfair? But we inherit all that we are from our parents.
Note article 15 on Christ’s sinlessness
Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:21-22
Universal human sinfulness: Gen 8:21; Ps 14:1-3; Ecc 7:20; Is 53:6; Rm 3:23; Eph 2:3
Cf. BCP General Confession
The flesh lusting contrary to the Spirit – Gal 5:17; Rom 7:2-25
Wrath – holy anger, God’s settled opposition to evil, not flying off the handle, God takes sin, righteousness and injustice seriously
“Phronema” = mind set / way of thinking . “Sarkos” = flesh, sometimes translated “sinful nature”. Draws on Rom 8:6-7
“Concupiscence” – lust / desire – though note not a sin to be tempted
Rm 6:12; 7:7; Col 3:5
Disagreeing with the RC Council of Trent decree concerning original sin (June 1546)
No perfect Christians - a civil war in believers between the sinful nature and the Spirit - a conflict with sin is not a sign that you are not a Christian but that the Spirit is at work in you. The unconverted are sometimes happy with / oblivious to their sin. The more holy we are the more conscious we may be of sin.

Article 10: Of Free Will

The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

Title of the article a bit misleading? Again against some radical protestants.
“Preventing” = going before – preceding, echoes Ps 59:10
Cf. BCP Collect for Easter Day & 9th Sunday after Trinity
Slaves to sin – Jn 8:34
Jn 6:44; 15:16; Acts 16:14; Rm 7:14-25; 10:20; Gal 3:10-23; Eph 2:10; 4:17-32
Co-operating grace – Jn 15:4-5; 1 Cor 15:10; Gal 2:20; Phil 2:12-13
Quote Bray p68f

Article 11: Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely expressed in the Homily of Justification.

Draws on the ideas of human sinfulness in Articles 9 and 10.
Justified = vindicated, declared not guilty / accounted righteous (righteous and justified are the same word in NT Greek). Justification by faith alone / by faith only. Good works not the meritorious grounds of salvation – salvation is an unearned gift of grace received by faith. Even faith itself is a gift which God works in us not a meritorious good work. The repentant thief on the cross a striking example of salvation by faith alone apart from works. Justification by faith alone gives the believer assurance of salvation without pride.
 Romans 1:16-19; 3:21-5:9; 9:30-10:13; Gal 2:16, 20-3:29; Eph 2:8-9; Col 1:21-23; Phil 3:2-11
“The Homily on Justification”= Cranmer’s homily “Of the salvation of mankind” in 1st book of homilies.
Cf. RC view that we need to be further sanctified in purgatory before we can go to heaven

Article 12: Of Good Works

Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

Against those (including RC church) who claimed that justification by faith alone made good works unimportant and gave licence to sin. Good works follow from faith and salvation, they don’t earn or deserve salvation. Good works are a result of God working in us. Though not perfect, the good works of Christians are genuinely pleasing to God.
James 2:14-26 – real faith works. “Faith without works” would be a dead, unreal faith.
“justification is by faith alone, but real faith is not alone”, it is always accompanied by good works. Tree & fruit refers to Mt 12:33. Rom 12:1-21; Eph 2:8-10

Article 13: Of Works before Justification

Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of the Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

“School-authors” scholastic theologians of the Western church in the Middle Ages – from about 1100 onwards – scholastics include Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard, Peter Lombard, Gabriel Biel, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and Thomas Aquinas
Ps 51; Jn 15:4-5; Heb 11:6; Rm 6:1-23; 14:23; Eph 2:1-3, 11-12; Is 64:6

Article 14: Of Works of Supererogation

Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God's Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they not only render unto God as much as they are bound to, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, "When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, 'We are unprofitable servants.'"

Supererogation – to pay over and above what is required. Against the RC idea that this supposed “extra merit” e.g. of the Saints could be passed on to others e.g. through indulgences to reduce time in purgatory. Luther had protested after Pope Leo X offered indulgences to those who contributed towards the building of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome in 1517. The quote at the end is from Luke 17:10. Cf. Jesus’ summary of the law. How is it possible to love God with more than all our heart etc.? We owe God everything so we can’t overpay.
Josh 1:7; Mk 7:7; 9:7; Mt 5:19; 28:20; Jn 10:27; Col 2:20-23; 1 Tim 4:1-5; Gal 1:8; 2:17-21; 2 Tim 3:16-17.
See RC Catechism para 1477-8 on the treasury of merit and indulgences

Article 15: Of Christ alone without Sin

Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world; and sin (as Saint John saith) was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Probably opposing some radical protestants who claimed sinlessness. See also Article 2, 9, 16, 27. Sinless humanity of Christ - Heb 2:17; 4:15; Jn 8:46; Act 3:14; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pt 2:22; Mt 4:1-11; Lk 4:1-13. Jesus the lamb without spot - Heb 9:14; 1 Pt 1:19; Jn 1:29. Quotes from 1 John 3:5 and later from James 3:2 and 1 John 1:8.
Rm 5:12-21; 7:7-25; Gal 3:10-14
Cf. The RC doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary – Mary preserved immune from all stain of original sin in the splendour of an entirely unique holiness. “By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long” – Catechism 491-3

Article 16: Of Sin after Baptism

Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

Again against some radical protestants though Origen (c. 184–254) and the Novatians (3rd C-) also taught that post-baptismal sin was unforgivable. Sin against the Holy Spirit – Mt 12:31-37, Mk 3:28-30; Lk 12:10 - continual resistance of the work of the Spirit in rejecting Christ – unpardonable because Christ is the means of forgiveness. Jer 4:1; Is 55:7; Hos 6:1; Lk 15:11-32; 2 Cor 2:5-11; 1 Jn 2:1-17
Cf. The Reformed doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, that is, that true believers continue in the faith, “once saved, always saved”

Article 17: Of Predestination and Election

Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only- begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wrethchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.

Cf. God’s choice of Israel in OT times for the sake of the nations. God is king – the sovereignty of God in all things, including salvation. Entailed by human sinfulness and salvation entirely the work of God and by grace alone – otherwise no one saved or we have something to boast about. All the glory goes to God for salvation; all the blame for damnation rests on those who are lost. Predestination does not undo human responsibility.
God does not choose people because of anything in them but by sheer grace – Dt 7:6-8; Rm 9:14-18. Rom 8:28-30, 9:6-13; Eph 1:4-5, 11-12
God does not force salvation on people against their will. Rather, he changes their hearts so that they choose him. A kind of “free will”: “liberty of spontaneity” (we make real choices and do what we want) rather than “liberty of indifference” (we make “free” choices between alternatives and might have chosen otherwise). Do we ever have “liberty of indifference” given the way nature and nurture shape us? 
Why doesn’t God choose everyone / some more people? – Rom 9:19-24
God’s secret counsel - Dt 29:29
The amazing thing from a Bible point of view is that any sinners are saved not that some are lost.
“Wretchlessness” = recklessness – just sin because it can’t affect your salvation

Article 18: Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ

They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

Again against some radical protestants. Quotes Acts 4:12. Jn 3:36; 14:1-13; Acts 17:16-34; 1 Cor 3:11; 1 Cor 15:1-2; Gal 1:8-9; 1 Tim 2:1-7; Rm 2:12-16.

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