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A few lines from Original Sin, by Philip Melanchthon.

July 25, 2016

‘Eph. 2:3, “We were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest.” The Hebrew term is “children of wrath,” that is, guilty or condemned. Therefore [Paul] affirms that both the descendants of Abraham and the rest of mankind are condemned not only because of actual transgressions but also because of the evil nature which we bring with us by propagation itself. For this we need no example. And what kind this evil nature is, the statements from [Romans] 7 and 8 set forth.” (From Original Sin, by Philip Melanchthon)

The ignorance of Original Sin is simply woeful today! ‘Jer. 17: 9, “The human heart is perverse above all things and miserable and inscrutable,” that is, turned away from God, and full of sorrows which arise from the fact that human minds do not know God and flee from Him. No one sufficiently understands how great these evils are.” (…Melanchthon)

  1. I quote Melanchthon, as he was Luther’s right-hand man!

    “Melanchthon’s Loci praecipul theologici is one of the several most significant and influential compendia of theology written during the Reformation … The new edition of Preus’s work…2011” (Richard A. Muller, PhD, P.J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan)

  2. Good to see you quoting that giant of the Reformation, Melanchthon. Love his Loci Communes.

    But we do, of course, keep in mind as Christians who practice infant baptism what original sin no longer means after baptism. Which is the point of baptism. A free gift of God. His divine, uncreated grace. Favor (forgiveness of sins) and gift (the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in his energies, but not his essence).

    If only Christendom knew original sin, baptismal regeneration, and the grace of God.

    • But of course I myself don’t believe in baptismal regeneration, not since Catholicism or High Church Anglicanism! But the idea of Adamic or Original Sin is biblical. I follow more towards Augustine’s idea of the ‘Sign & Seal’ of baptism! And even Luther was close here! Noting Titus 3: 5 (verses really of 3: 4-7) Verse seven: “That BEING justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” And here of course is that gift of faith given by God thru grace! (Eph. 2: 8)

      *The power of sin is broken by God’s grace after Regeneration and the New Birth, but NOT its essence and reality! We sin until we die, and leave this life. This is the teaching of Romans chapter 8! (Note too, Romans 7: 24-25)

      • I of course too believe in the “Imputation” of sin, you EO don’t! And Paul taught the doctrine of the Imputation of Sin, Romans 4-5!

  3. Btw Michael, your silence is noted! I have NEVER seen a decent bilbical or theological argument against Imputation by the EO.

    • You read more into my silence than is warranted. Just busy doing other things.

      But I think one has to look at it from a systematic theological standpoint. One just can’t pick and choose and make up one’s own system. So we’d have to discuss things like the atonement, foreknowledge/predestination/election, eschatology, ecclesiology, etc.

      I usually start with John of Damascus and his The Orthodox Faith. A portion from his discussion on baptism:

      “We confess one baptism for the remission of sins and for life eternal. For baptism declares the Lord’s death. We are indeed “buried with the Lord through baptism,” as saith the divine Apostle. So then, as our Lord died once for all, we also must be baptized once for all, and baptized according to the Word of the Lord, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit(9), being taught the confession in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Those, then, who, after having been baptized into Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and having been taught that there is one divine nature in three subsistences, are rebaptized, these, as the divine Apostle says, crucify the Christ afresh. For it is impossible, he saith, for those who were once enlightened, &c., to renew them again unto repentance: seeing they crucify to themselves the Christ afresh, and put Him to an open shame. But those who were not baptized into the Holy Trinity, these must be baptized again. For although the divine Apostle says: Into Christ and into His death were we baptized, he does not mean that the invocation of baptism must be in these words, but that baptism is an image of the death of Christ. For by the three immersions, baptism signifies the three days of our Lord’s entombment. The baptism then into Christ means that believers are baptized into Him. We could not believe in Christ if we were not taught confession in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For Christ is the Son of the Living God, Whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit: in the words of the divine David, Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And Isaiah also speaking in the person of the Lord says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me. Christ, however, taught His own disciples the invocation and said, Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For since Christ made us for incorruption, and we transgressed His saving command. He condemned us to the corruption of death in order that that which is evil should not be immortal, and when in His compassion He stooped to His servants and became like us, He redeemed us from corruption through His own passion. He caused the fountain of remission to well forth for us out of His holy and immaculate side, water for our regeneration, and the washing away of sin and corruption; and blood to drink as the hostage of life eternal. And He laid on us the command to be born again of water and of the Spirit, through prayer and invocation, the Holy Spirit drawing nigh unto the water. For since man’s nature is twofold, consisting of soul and body, He bestowed on us a twofold purification, of water and of the Spirit the Spirit renewing that part in us which is after His image and likeness, and the water by the grace of the Spirit cleansing the body from sin and delivering it from corruption, the water indeed expressing the image of death, but the Spirit affording the earnest of life.

      For from the beginning the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and anew the Scripture witnesseth that water has the power of purification(9). In the time of Noah God washed away the sin of the world by water. By water every impure person is purified, according to the law, even the very garments being washed with water. Elias shewed forth the grace of the Spirit mingled with the water when he burned the holocaust by pouring on water. And almost everything is purified by water according to the law: for the things of sight are symbols of the things of thought. The regeneration, however, takes place in the spirit: for faith has the power of making us sons (of God), creatures as we are, by the Spirit, and of leading us into our original blessedness.

      The remission of sins, therefore, is granted alike to all through baptism: but the grace of the Spirit is proportional to the faith and previous purification. Now, indeed, we receive the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit through baptism, and the second birth is for us the beginning and seal and security and illumination s of another life. It behoves as, then, with all our strength to steadfastly keep ourselves pure from filthy works, that we may not, like the dog returning to his vomit, make ourselves again the slaves of sin. For faith apart from works is dead, and so likewise are works apart from faith. For the true faith is attested by works.

      Now we are baptized into the Holy Trinity because those things which are baptized have need of the Holy Trinity for their maintenance and continuance, and the three subsistences cannot be otherwise than present, the one with the other. For the Holy Trinity is indivisible.”

  4. Hey Michael,

    Nice to know you were just busy! 🙂

    And Systematic Theology IS Reformed Theology in itself! Yes, I am somewhat “eclectic” too, I hope in the best sense? But again, I find it interesting that you did NOT quote or exegete a Text! And this is one of the big differences between us! I am really one that reads Holy Scripture daily, with always looking at exegesis! And confessional Christianity is also part of the Reformed and Reformational community, but they only get there with biblical exegesis. But I am not one that believes or sees this about Orthodoxy and the EO! And again, I say this with some respect for the EO in general. They have had some fine Christian people, and certainly some nice theolog’s, especially in the 20th century, with people like Georges Florovsky (one of my favorites). And some thoughts from Sergius Bulgakov, mostly on the Trinity and every Christian pastor-teacher should read his book: The Comforter! But, I do have certainly historical and exegetical differences with the EO. And as I have said “Imputation” is simply a huge and major one! The loss here is devastating biblically & theologically, if we miss this great truth! “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5: 18-19, NKJV) Indeed this Good News and Gospel is a Gospel-“kerygma” message, and here the so-called sacraments are “signs” and visible “seals”, but the reality is always Faith ‘In Christ’, the “sola gratia” by grace alone in HIM! (Titus 3: 4-7) “Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” (Verse 7, NLT)

    *And btw this “confidence” is our assurance in the grace of God In Jesus Christ, our Lord and Mediator: “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2: 5, NLT)

    • And of course our righteousness is a “declaration”, for as Paul knew, that alone and in us “dwells no good thing” (Romans 7: 18). But yes, we do have a new nature, but in this life the old is always still with us! That old man is but “reckoned” and counted dead, but he likes to stick his head up daily! That has been my experience anyway. 😉

      • And I have tried the monastic path myself, like Luther. And it was a basic injustice to my true self! Of which we can hide from but never escape! And indeed only Christ has his measure, and NOT until death fully! (1 Cor. 15: 26)

  5. I agree with the old Scots preacher Alexander Whyte, that no one (in this life) would ever get him out of Romans 7: 13-25! And baptismal regeneration is surely a myth, and can be a lie! Btw we should take on exegetically 1 Peter 3:18-22? The answer which lies in the very Text itself, (verse 21).

    • WHYTE, ALEXANDER (1837), Scottish divine, was born at Kirriemuir in Forfarshire on the 13th of January;’ 1837, and was educated at the university of Aberdeen and at New College, Edinburgh. He entered the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland and after serving as colleague in Free St John’s, Glasgow (1866-1870), removed to Edinburgh as colleague and successor to Dr R. S . Candish at Free St George’s. He succeeded Dr Marcus Dods as principal, and professor of New Testament literature, at New College, Edinburgh. Among his publications are Characters and Characteristics of William Law (1893); Bunyan Characters (3 vols., 1894); Samuel Rutherford (1894); An Appreciation of Jacob Behmen (1895); Lancelot Andrewes and his Private Devotions (1895); Bible Characters (7 vols., 1897); Santa Teresa (1897); Father John of Cronsladc (1898); An Appreciation of Browne’s Religio Medici (1898); Cardinal Newman, An Appreciation (1901). (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911)

  6. Btw Michael, if your up for it, let’s exegete and interpret 1 Peter 3:18-22! For my belief is that it reveals that Baptism is NOT regenerational (gives life), i.e. in and of itself! But, it is a great “sign” and “seal” of that salvation, as Titus 3: 4-7! As the Text here reveals, the true “washing of regeneration, and renewing [is] of the Holy Spirit.” (Verse 5) … “whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Verse 6) And the metaphor of shed or “pouring” is the work of the Holy Spirit, and the whole of the Trinity of God! (Verses 4 thru 6, which ends in our “being justified by His grace”).

    Let’s let the Holy Scripture itself decide this great question and issue! 🙂

    • Btw looking at the lastest NIV Study Bible, with the NIV 2011 Text (which I have and have written a blog piece on, and my conclusion was I loved it, and even over the ’84 Text and NIV Study Bible then, 1985 – which I have also). I cannot do any better here than with their Textual Notes, 1 Peter 3: 19,20 and note for 3: 21, 3: 22. So I would quite recommend reading it here! As also the Text of Titus 3: 4-7, and the notes there from this lastest NIV Study Bible with the NIV 2011 Text. And btw note, the first NIV Text and Study Bible, 1985 were surely a product of some Reformed Brethren. So both are a good Evangelical Study Bible, but the new NIV 2011 Text with lastest NIV Study Bible is superior in my opinion! Just a great updated Text and Study Bible!

      *I will quote it and use it if we proceed on 1 Peter 3: 18-22!

  7. Btw, looking at the Critical Commentaries on 1 Peter 3: 18-22, they are long, old and tedious! The NIV Study Bible notes covers some of this, but in the main, the Texts here must be seen in the spiritual and theological sense, but verses 19-22 all follow verse 18, which makes the case itself of our salvation by Christ. And Peter’s picture of Baptism here actually comes from a double figure, the flood symbolizes death in baptism, and baptism symbolizes salvation and resurrection of which of course Jesus Christ alone achieves and has fully achieved for us, verse 18! Again, we are viewing a great sign in Baptism, a sign of victory and a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And when we go back to verse 18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” So profound, yet really so simple! As the KJV has it, “The Just for the unjust”! And this is pure Imputation!

  8. And finally, we must NOT over look verse 22, “Who (Christ) has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” The Ascension of Christ on God’s Throne of Glory is tremendous! For there Jesus Christ sits as the Hebrew writer says: “he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Heb. 1: 3) This all power and glory are Jesus Christ’s, or as Paul likes to say: “Christ Jesus” the glorified Man – God Incarnate!

  9. The Once Dead but Risen Christ, Ascended and on the Throne of Glory, cements our salvation fully and eternally! He is now the Mediator forever! Jude says it so wonderfully: “To HIM who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before HIS glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 24-25)

  10. *And though I am somewhat friendly with the EO, I am NOT in agreement with their basic idea of regeneration, which is of course “sacramental”! Here I disagree firmly! But in general with the Trinity and Christology, I would be close to them! And as I have written (too noting Barth), they have problems with using “mystery” to define God!

  11. Btw, for my theological readers here I would surely recommend the reading of the great Netherlands Reformed scholar, who came to America, Geerhardus Vos (1892 – 1949, died the year I was born!) See his book by P&R, Redemptive History And Biblical Interpretation (1980.2001, with Index and Bibiography, 571 pages) I don’t always agree with Vos, since I am Historic Pre-Mill and something of a Zionist Christian, but on the general Covenant of Grace he is very good! A must read he is!

  12. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles (Nations) taught what we see in the Reformational & Reformed doctrines, of Sola Fide, “Faith Alone” before God! Works of course follow regeneration and new birth, but works never MAKE this happen in itself! Only God In Christ gives this “gift”. (Eph. 2: 8-10)

    *Note a form of Biblical fidesim: The belief that faith alone is the basis of knowledge rather than reason alone. See Voluntarism, a doctrine of system based on such participation and will, by grace and God’s Glory!

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