How to Create Zeal for Good Works

24 June 2010 by Wes Bredenhof

“Luther: ‘The lawmonger compels by threats and punishments; the preacher of grace persuades and incites men by setting forth the goodness and mercy of God.’  Learn to preach the Gospel, and you have learned the art of making your people zealous for good works.”  F. Pieper, Christian Dogmatics (Vol. 1), 79

AxiomLex necat peccatorem, non peccatum; evangelium necat peccatum, non peccatorem.

The law destroys the sinner, not the sin.  The gospel destroys sin, not the sinner.

F. Pieper, Christian Dogmatics (Vol. 1), 80.

3 responses to “How to Create Zeal for Good Works”

  1. Hi Wes, this is an interesting quote.

    But I wonder: how does it fit in with Article 14 of Head V of the Canons of Dort?

    “Just as it has pleased God to begin this work of grace in us by the preaching of the gospel, so He maintains, continues, and perfects it by the hearing and reading of His Word, by meditation on it, by its exhortations, threats, and promises, and by the use of the sacraments.”

    Luther seems to disregard the threats completely in this quote.

  2. joyce says:

    Can i apply that to upbringing my dear beloved knows-his-own-mind child… do I admonish less and persuade more??

  3. Joel Bosveld says:

    While threats and punishments should not compel, God’s mercy is only truly understood when we understand our sin and misery (HC QA 2). Thus, the law must also be preached; and law implies threats and punishments.

    So if there is a distinction between compelling by threats and the proper preaching of the Word’s threats, then Luther would not be disregarding what is written in Article 14 of Head V of the Canons of Dort. (whether or not this is what he meant, I do not know; but the two statements are not necessarily in conflict with eachother).

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