Ok, now, I think the antinomian controversy is settled.
We shall continue to preach the law to Christians. As far as Christ is not raised in them, they still need to hear it.
We also deepened the concept of sin. As Adam and Eve fell, they sinned against the first commandment. When we fail to show mercy, or sin against the second table, we also sin against the first commandment. (Thanks to Larry for this.) This is what is means to deny God when you refuse to show mercy. There are many layers to this.
I am sort of glad to give the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25) a little different reading or emphasis from what is usually expounded in our circles. Read Jesus words for what they are there. What a relief. Let's not beat around the bush.
Jesus is not emphasizing the fact that the sheep did all their merciful acts spontaneously because they have been justified by faith, (though this is also true). He is emphasizing that when you do this for your needy neighbor, you are serving HIM in THEM. And THESE are the KINDS of works to be doing, not, as Luther militated against, the pilgrimages, the venerating of relics, the asceticism. Do not ever invent your own type of worship or works.
I personally think that I'm quite aware of what I am doing. I may do some good spontaneously, i.e. freely, gladly, but nobody is going to say, "You went to see such and such in the hospital" to me and I'm going to say "When did I do that?" As long as I have a memory, I will know that I went to see such and such in the hospital. (just an example, not praising myself). Jesus point is, if you want to do what I want you to do, then you do these things. And this is very serious. You shall see ME in this needy person. You deny them mercy, you deny me who has been merciful to you.
And, yet, all this without coercion because of the Gospel.
I get from this, too, that good deeds can be "planned", that while the primary "program" of the church is forgiveness, it can also have a "program" of mercy; it need not be haphazard.
Another corollary is that we are also dignified in our suffering, which will surely come to us.
Reformation Coloring Book
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