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What Luther Says

ZITAT: 'The Church Must Be And Remain The Community Of Sinners, Forgiven And Forgiving.'

Unless I'm way off base with my basic translating skills (and have completely forgotten how to perform an accurate Google search!), I believe the English word "quote" (used as a noun as in "a quote") is translated to "zitat" in German.

That will help to explain the strange "Z" word listed in the title of this post. 

That being said, I'm always keeping my eyes and ears open for good quotes of a distinctly "Lutheran" flavor that encourage prayerful consideration and a deeper study of God's Word, His Sacraments, Christ's Church, and our Lutheran Confessions of "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Plus, it certainly helps me personally in my on-going journey away from American Evangelicalism toward being a steadfast Confessional Lutheran.
Here's the latest...

"In Matthew's account of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus repeats the fifth petition ('forgive us our debts') immediately after teaching the prayer itself. He emphasizes the power and need for forgiveness above all: 'For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses' (Matthew 6:14-15). 
First, we Christians need forgiveness, for we daily sin much. Second, we Christians need to forgive others, for others, like us, also sin much. The church must be and remain the community of sinners, forgiven and forgiving. Those who are forgiven and know its tremendous power will also gladly forgive and do good to those who sin against them. 
There is no way for the church to live in love and harmony other than through and in the power of forgiveness. Congregations can become full of bickering factions, seeking their own way and through power politics enforcing their own will upon the community. This is not the will and way of our Savior, who calls on us to live in forgiveness with our neighbor, overlooking his weaknesses and in love covering a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). If we live in forgiveness, then the Lord's way will be made among us." 
-- Rev. Scott R. Murray from "Forgiven And Forgiving"

This is most certainly true.

And yet, I'm willing to bet some questions remain if you're anything like me.

For instance, the Bible tells us we are supposed to forgive those who sin against us, with the warning that if we don't forgive others God will not forgive us.

We also pray in the Lord's Prayer that God would forgive us as we forgive others.

So, what does it mean to forgive? How do I know if I have truly forgiven someone?

We do not place our trust in how truly we have forgiven someone as the basis for God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is pure grace and depends on nothing in us or nothing we do. Our confidence lies with Christ alone. So the call to forgive is not a new law, rather it is the fruit of faith. When someone asks forgiveness faith does not ask, 'How will I truly forgive this person?' It simply says to the other, 'I forgive you.' But to withhold forgiveness is to deny that you are Christ’s. It is to deny that your brother or sister is one for whom Christ died. It is too walk in darkness, not in the light. To walk in such a way is to have your forgiveness withheld (See Matthew 18:23-35). It sounds like your conscience is not troubled by lack of desire to forgive, but how sincere your forgiveness must be. If your desire is for you to be reconciled with your brother or sister let that be enough. But in no way do you merit God’s forgiveness in forgiving another. 
Peace, Pastor Gary Hall www.stjohnsbridgeton.org

Furthermore, Rev. Jeffrey Ries adds, "When we fail to show mercy to others, we reveal that we have not truly received in faith God's forgiveness in Christ. In other words, true repentance always bears the fruit of a desire to forgive others."

In a Lutheran layman's terms, "Blessed are the merciful for they are shown mercy" (Matthew 5:7).

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 4 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the truth myself. Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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