Some thoughts from a close friend, offered without comment:
“I tend to agree with the statement that is made in these articles*, that the preaching of the Law is meant to produce an actual result, and not merely to convict. However, I have noticed something (this is not an accusation, just an observation): Many Lutherans who would like to reintroduce the practice of exhortation into the life of the Church seem incessantly to base their argument upon the fact that St. Paul preaches the law in such a way as to encourage a goodly result.
“The argument is based on the particular example set by St. Paul and is an extrapolation from his style. This is not bad. However, I think I would find a better argument in the work of King David:
“I perceive that some of these theologians do not rightly comprehend the problem. The problem is not so much that we are limiting the Law to one use, or that we are failing to lead our people into good works for our neighbor. I find the problem to be this: that we have not yet convinced ourselves that the Law is beautiful, and should in every way be our delight, simultaneously the object of our meditation, the joy of our contemplation, and ultimately (though not necessarily most importantly) the true work of our hands; for God is the Law, just as God is Love. If we say the Law only accuses, then we say that God only accuses. But it is the Love of God, that is, the Law of God, which effected our salvation. Therefore, we should rejoice in the Law always, for the Law is not something separate from God, a list of requirements; it is the essence of God made comprehensible to a created mind. It is for this reason that Luther can say ‘Only the Decalogue is Eternal’ for it is one with the Divinity.
“As long as we believe the Law to be something external to God, we will always fail to preach the Law properly.”
* The articles in question:
- “Are you an Antinomian?” by Pr. H. R. Curtis
- “Mark’s thoughts: I am an antinomian” by Pr. Mark Surburg