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Special Issue:

The Simul • Simul 101 • Good Guy or Bad Guy? • Why Liturgy?

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Preview the new devotional from Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison at cph.org/joyfullylutheran cph.org/joyfullylutheran

© 2019 Concordia Publishing House

H I G H E R

© 2019 Concordia Publishing House

© 2019 Concordia Publishing House

© 2019 Concordia Publishing House

Small Catechism devotions full of


Contents T A B L E O F

Volume 19/Number 1 • Spring 2019

This special topical issue

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Special Features 4 Simul 101

By Rev. George F. Borghardt Rev. Borghardt takes us back to the basics of the reality of Christian life as he zeroes on the very paradoxical nature of the Simul.

6 The Law Is for You Even Now

By Rev. Aaron T. Fenker If you’re a saint, why do you need to bother with God’s Law? Rev. Fenker walks us through the three uses of the Law to help us understand the role God’s good Law plays in the life of a Christian.

8 The Simul in the Old Testament

By Rev. Donavon Riley Rev. Riley demonstrates how the Simul is a key to understanding the underlying message of the entirety of the Scriptures, even the Old Testament: We are sinners in need of a savior who is Jesus Christ, in whom we have forgiveness and are brought from death to life.

10 On Being “Simul”—New Software on Old Hardware

By Rev. William M. Cwirla We’ve all been frustrated with our computers at one point or another—it’s inevitable. That’s why Rev. Cwirla’s analogy works so well! You’ll heartily agree after reading the connection between software, hardware and your life as a Christian.

12 Christianity: Secret Battles & Inner Peace

By Rev. Harrison Goodman From the start to the end of Rev. Goodman’s article, there is one unmistakable theme: The spiritual battle we experience each and every day can’t negate our identity in Christ. When you’re in the throes of your battles (saint and sinner), remember you are baptized, and receive the forgiveness won for you.

“The Simul” has one goal in mind: that by the time you’ve read this magazine cover to cover you will have a solid handle on exactly what simul justus (or iustus) et peccator—simultaneously saint and sinner—is and what its implications are for you as a Christian. Not only that, we hope you’ll be passionately reminded to daily embrace your identity as a baptized child of God and be confident that it is Christ’s work and gifts that will sustain you in your battle weariness this side of Heaven. It is in Him you receive forgiveness in abundance and through His Word you encounter the reality of your true victory in Christ.

18 Well, Do You Believe or Not? Yes! Help!

By Rev. Mark Buetow Is it possible to believe and not believe at the same time? Well, when you’re simultaneously saint and sinner it sure is! How do we reconcile this? Rev. Buetow points us time and time again to Christ and His gifts!

20 Good Guy or Bad Guy?

By Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz Some of the best works of literature we read are so relatable because the characters demonstrate the Simul so vividly. Rev. Schuldheisz cites numerous examples, all leading to the final encouraging word that this battle we fight within ourselves will not last forever.

22 Find Your Rest

By Rev. Gaven M. Mize Rev. Mize uses the words of a comforting Lutheran hymn to remind us that when we confront the brutal reality of simul justus et peccator at a funeral, we can know there is ultimate peace to be found in our Baptisms and in the resurrection to come!

Regular Features 28 Catechism: Liturgical Catechesis: Why Liturgy?

By Rev. William M. Cwirla Rev. Cwirla reminds us what a great gift the Liturgy is, for it is where our saint and sinner nature can be addressed so reliably and consistently.

30 Bible Study: Secret Battles & Inner Peace

Be sure to check out this sample of one of our student Bible studies which links up with Rev. Harrison Goodman’s article on P. 12.

HigherThings

®

Volume 19/Number 1/Spring 2019 Bible Studies for these articles can be found at: higherthings.org/ magazine/biblestudies/ Executive Editor

Katie Hill Art Director

Steve Blakey Editorial Associates

Rev. Greg Alms Rev. Paul Beisel Rev. Gaven M. Mize Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard Copy Editors

Kay Maiwald Dana Niemi Bible Study Authors

Rev. Aaron T. Fenker Rev. Joshua Ulm ___________ Board of Directors President

Rev. George F. Borghardt Vice-President

Rev. Duane Bamsch Treasurer

Mr. Kurt Winrich Secretary

Rev. Joel Fritsche Mrs. Becky Clausen Deaconess Ellie Corrow Rev. D. Carl Fickenscher Mr. Anthony Pellegrini Rev. Chris Rosebrough ___________

Executive Council Deputy Executive/ Conference and Retreats

Sandra J. Madden Media Executive

Rev. Aaron T. Fenker Business Executive

Connie Brammeier Development Executive

Erica Jacoby

Marketing Executive

Patrick Sturdivant Higher Things® Magazine ISSN 1539-8455 is published quarterly by Higher Things, Inc. P.O. Box 155 Holt, MO 64048. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the executive editor of Higher Things Magazine. Copyright 2019. Higher Things® is registered trademarks of Higher Things Inc.; All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States. Postage paid at St. Louis, Missouri. For subscription information and questions, call 1-888-482-6630, then press 4, or e-mail subscriptions@ higherthings.org. (This phone number is only used for subscription queries.) For letters to the editor, write letters@higher things.org. Writers may submit manuscripts to: submissions@ higherthings.org. Please check higherthings.org/magazine/ writers/ for writers’ guidelines and theme lists.

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Simul 101

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Photo by Kevin Carden Lightstock.com

By Rev. George F. Borghardt


Sola gratia. Sola fide. Sola Scriptura. You know that Latin, don’t you? Every Lutheran does! Jesus saves you by grace alone (sola gratia), received by faith alone (sola fide), and this flows from Scripture alone (sola Scriptura). The solas confess one of the truths that became clear during the Reformation. That truth—the truth that Jesus saves us by grace alone received by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9)—is confessed another way in the Scriptures: simul justus et peccator. That’s “same time justified and sinner” or “same time saint and sinner.” We call it in this issue of Higher Things Magazine “the Simul.” My job is to give you the basics. Think of this article as “Simul 101.” You are a saint. That is the Gospel! A saint is a holy one. You are a sinner. That’s the Law! A sinner is someone who is, by definition, “not holy.” A saint stands before God completely and totally forgiven. A sinner can’t stand before God at all. All sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). All are justified freely as a gift by faith in Christ (Romans 3:23).  “All” are sinners means that you are a sinner, too. “All” are justified means that you are justified, too. You are at the same time completely and totally a sinner and completely and totally declared forgiven by God. That doesn’t make sense at all! That’s because the Simul is a paradox. A sinner is the opposite of a saint and a saint isn’t a sinner. Reason tells you that you are either a sinner or a saint; how can you be both? Everyone knows this! How can both be true in the Scriptures? Welcome to the Gospel! It’s messy and it’s neat. In the Gospel two truths are held together in this life: You are a sinner who is justified by faith alone in Jesus. Let’s start with the truth of the Law: You are a sinner. God didn’t make you a sinner. You are fallen—born in Adam’s image. You inherited your sin from your dad. “In sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5). That’s original sin! Incurvatus in se. That’s the Latin name for original sin.  It means “turned inward upon yourself.” You are inclined to evil. Your compass is off. It doesn’t point toward God, it points toward you. You care more about yourself than others and God. You don’t have to be taught to sin. It comes naturally. You do, think, and plan to do evil things (concupiscence). You commit sins (actual sin). Lady Gaga was right, too, in this respect: You really were really born this way. That’s bad! But the Law isn’t done yet. It’s far worse: All of you is a sinner. All of me is a sinner. You are completely and totally a sinner. You aren’t partly a sinner and partly something better. You were born a sinner. You are a sinner. You will be a sinner. You will die a sinner (peccator). At the same time (simul) there is another truth about you: You are justified by faith in Jesus. You are born from above in Jesus. You are holy and without spot or blemish before

God in His blood. You are completely forgiven in Christ of all your sins—past, present, and future sins. God the Father has given you, bestowed upon you, everything that Jesus earned in a blessed exchange! You are righteous in Jesus. You are forgiven in Jesus. Everything that is true of Jesus is true of you: You are a child of God and an heir of heaven itself. All things are yours in Christ—even the right hand of God. Jesus goes to prepare a place for you so that where He is there you may be also.  There’s more good news! You are completely and totally a saint (justus). You aren’t part saint or some percentage a saint in Jesus. By faith in Jesus you are completely and totally forgiven. You are justified, declared righteous, in the death and resurrection of Christ.  It doesn’t depend upon you. It doesn’t rest upon you at all! Did Jesus die for you? Did He rise again from the dead for you? If He did, you are saved. It all rests on Jesus. So, is this some sort of 50-50 thing? No. Do you increase the amount that you are justified depending on how you get sin out of your life? No. That’s progressive sanctification, which is not taught in the Scriptures. Here is the paradoxical truth of Scripture: Your whole life you are completely a saint and completely a sinner. And when you fall asleep someday, you’ll just be a saint. Your life in Christ is now a constant daily battle between the two yous. The justified new man (justus) lives by faith alone and can’t sin. The Old Adam (peccator) in you wants to live for himself and fix things with God on his own. The whole of your life is this continual battle between saint and sinner. So why not just sin since you are completely and totally a sinner anyway? Well, faith doesn’t think that way. You are baptized. Faith desires more Jesus. Your new man wants to compel your old man to live for God and others. That’s the battle! But your Old Adam is so corrupted with original sin that even as you get one sin under control, you see another actual sin, and another, and another. Thus, your whole life is this fight between the two yous so that you live not as you want to live but as Christ wants you to live. Your whole life now is confessing your sins and receiving forgiveness. Will you get better in this life? How does this look? How does this go down? How is this truth lived out? The rest of this magazine is going to explain and rejoice in this paradoxical truth of the Gospel. But here are the basics: You are simul, which means you are completely a saint and completely a sinner.  Rev. George F. Borghardt is the pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bossier City, Louisiana. He also serves as the president of Higher Things.

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The Law Is for By Rev. Aaron T. Fenker

The Law is a good gift, just like the Gospel is a

good gift. Scripture consistently reminds us that: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17); “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8); because God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—does not change, we are not consumed (Malachi 3:6), and that means the Gospel doesn’t change. Jesus died and rose for you. That’s an eternal, unchangeable fact. But God’s Word of Law, His eternal will, also doesn’t change. Both the Gospel and the Law are good gifts from God that do not change and both are given for one reason: your salvation.

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Now I know what you’re thinking: “But how can that be? The Law doesn’t save me.” That’s true. God’s Word of Law doesn’t and can’t possibly save you! It is still given for the sake of your salvation. You see, God’s Word of Law was chiefly given “to increase the trespass (sin)” (Romans 5:20) because “the Law was our guardian,” our bailiff, drill-sergeant, “to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3:24). In driving, killing, binding, and burdening, God’s Word of Law shows us our need for a Savior, our need for Christ, who died and rose for us, setting us free from the burden, condemnation, and curse of God’s Word of Law. Does the Law do anything else? Why yes, it does. In fact, God’s Word of Law has three functions or uses, and so it impacts people in three ways. First, God’s Word of Law acts like curb, to stop, discipline, and punish wild, disobedient people (Romans 13). Second, it acts like a mirror, for “through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). Third, the Holy Spirit uses the Word of the Law to teach what is God-pleasing according to God’s eternal and unchangeable will. But who is the Law for? St. Paul says, “The Law is not laid down for the righteous” (1 Timothy 1:9), but for the unrighteous (1 Timothy 1:9-10). You

are righteous—clothed in Christ’s own perfect righteousness (Galatians 3:27). You are a baptized child of God, and so the curse that comes from God’s Word of Law cannot touch you. That’s what Paul means. Jesus Himself bore that curse for you (Galatians 3:13). But still God’s Word of Law is for you, because you’re simul justus et peccator—righteous and sinner at the same time. God’s Word of Law with its curse, coercion, and condemnation is not for you in your inner man, who you are in Jesus, but it is solely for your outer man, your flesh. You are renewed. Renewed in Holy Baptism, new life is yours and the Holy Spirit is yours. Free salvation is given as a gift from God at the font (Titus 3:5). Yet you are not completely, 100% renewed in this life. If you were, you wouldn’t need God’s Word of Law. Not one bit! If you were completely free from sin, you wouldn’t need any teaching, admonishing, urging, driving, force, or compulsion from God’s Word of Law. Instead, you would, by yourself, do everything that is God-pleasing according to His Word of Law, and you’d do it completely voluntarily, from a free and willing heart. You’d be just like the sun, moon, and stars in all their splendor and beauty, doing everything

according to God’s good order. But you are not completely renewed. And so you do need God’s Word of Law in this life, until you’re dead. Because your flesh doesn’t have the pure desires that the spirit—not the letter—of the Law requires, you need the Law. You need to be taught, admonished, warned, and threatened by God’s Word of Law, and you also need punishments or consequences. Why? To keep your Old Adam, your flesh, in check. Yes, your new man is in Christ, in as much as He’s perfectly renewed in life and doesn’t need the Law, but the new man rejoices in the Law because the Law is death to the flesh. God’s Word of Law forces and punishes and curbs the Old Adam to do what he doesn’t and will never ever want to do. God’s Word of Law not only teaches you what is good and right and perfect, but God’s Word of Law also teaches you, as in a mirror, that your works are imperfect, so your flesh doesn’t trick you into man-made, selfchosen good works. The teaching, the guiding of God’s Word of Law, is just the curb and mirror of God’s Law applied to you as a believer. But God’s Word of Law has its limits. It teaches you what is good and perfect, but it does not give the power and ability to begin to do it. The Holy Spirit does that through the Gospel. There’s no “beginning in the Spirit and finishing in the flesh” (Galatians 3:3). God’s Law demands and even teaches— to death!—but it cannot enliven or empower. Not only that, the Law doesn’t make your good works acceptable to God. Your love for your neighbor, your love for God are good works, and they really are acceptable and pleasing to Him. Why? Not because of the Law. It teaches that they’re imperfect. But Jesus’ blood and death and resurrection, the waters of your Baptism, wash away everything imperfect about your works, so now you and your works are pleasing to your heavenly Father. Because you did them? No, only because you are in Christ.


You Even Now Gospel then. You’ll see God face to face, and you’ll do God’s will with unmingled joy—voluntarily, with purity and perfection, all by God’s indwelling Spirit. You know that. You believe that. You were taught that. By His blood and death, Jesus made you His own, and you will “live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true!”

Photo by arssecreta/istockphoto.com

Who are you? You’re a baptized child of God. You have the Holy Spirit. You also have your flesh. You are simul justus et peccator: righteous and sinner at the same time. Righteous in Jesus; sinner in yourself. And the Law is for you (simul). It’s not for your new man, but for your flesh. Your Old Adam clings to you until the grave. As far as he’s concerned, he must be driven by God’s Word of Law and punishments. He is unruly, stubborn, and will never do what God desires in His Word of Law. But you are a believer, and so far as you are enlivened by the Spirit, you act without constraint and with a willing spirit to do what no threat or teaching or punishment of the Law, however severe, could ever force you to do. You are righteous in Christ now, but you will be fully renewed and righteous forever on the Last Day. You won’t need the preaching of the Law then. You do now. The Law is for you now. The Gospel is, too. But you won’t even need the

Rev. Aaron T. Fenker is the pastor of Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Bremen, Kansas. He is the media executive for Higher Things.

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Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

The Simul in the Old Testament By Rev. Donavon Riley

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imul justus et peccator. We Christians are at once saint and sinner. And while we might have the entire Scriptures at our fingertips, so often our go-to passages about this reality of the Christian life are in the New Testament. Let’s be honest. There are few passages that nail the “simul” as well as Romans 7, where we read about Paul agonizing about not doing the good that he wants to do and doing the bad that he doesn’t want to do. And yes, we can relate to that struggle all too well.


Not surprisingly, when we consult Martin Luther on the subject of the “simul,” he certainly appeals to the New Testament as well. In his comments on Galatians 3 [:23], Luther lays out why Christians must view themselves in two ways at the same time, rather than as either a sinner or saint:

Illustrations by Prixel Creative Lightstock.com

Therefore the Christian is divided this way into two times. To the extent that he is flesh, he is under the Law; to the extent that he is spirit, he is under the Gospel. To his flesh there always cling lust, greed, ambition, pride, etc. So do ignorance and contempt of God, impatience, grumbling, and wrath against God because He obstructs our plans and efforts and because He does not immediately punish the wicked who despise Him. These sins cling to the flesh of the saints. Therefore if you do not look at anything beyond the flesh, you will remain permanently under the time of the Law. But those days have to be shortened, for otherwise no human being would be saved (Matt. 24:22). An end has to be set for the Law, where it will come to a stop. Therefore the time of Law is not forever; but it has an end, which is Christ. But the time of grace is forever; for Christ, having died once for all, will never die again (Rom. 6:9–10). He is eternal; therefore the time of grace is eternal also.1 Without this “simul” distinction our theology lapses into moralism—do goodism. Salvation is reduced to a process of self-improvement in which God and man each contribute their fair share and man’s progress is measured against a scale of increasing holiness. For the reformer, this was a totally unacceptable way to view Scripture, do theology, and live. In fact, if we abandon Luther at this point we will never understand how he engages and interprets the Bible, does theology, or why his life took shape the way it did. And part of this involved his looking intently into the pages of the Old Testament about our “simul” reality. For example, in Luther’s commentary on Psalm 51 he states that God cannot be justified unless we are sinners. Yet, because we are sinners, we constantly resist, oppose, judge, and condemn all God’s words and works. There is, he says, “a constant legal war between Him and [self-righteous and selfsatisfied men] over His words and works.”2 Luther makes this dichotomy a point of emphasis not only here, in relation to Psalm 51, but treats all the Old Testament this way. But, why? Because, as he writes, “All Scripture and the Word of God point to the suffering of Christ, as He Himself declares in the last chapter of Luke (24:46-47) that Scripture contains nothing else than the promised grace and forgiveness of sin through the suffering of Christ, that whoever believes in Him, and none other, shall be saved.”3 So, when we follow Luther’s line of thinking, everything we read in Scripture is about Jesus crucified for sinners. On the other hand, then, everything we read in Scripture alerts us to the opposing fact that we are wholly sinful and in need of a gracious and forgiving Savior. That’s the “simul”, which means, we do not read the Bible as a manual for how to go from sinner

to saint by way of the Ten Commandments or Jesus’ example. Instead, we learn from Dr. Luther to read all Scripture as God’s Word that at one and the same time reveals the truth about God and us. We are miserable sinners, and Jesus is a merciful Savior. It reveals that we are simultaneously condemned by God’s Word of Law and absolved by God’s Word of Gospel. We read and understand that we are unclean, weak sinners and simultaneously pure and strengthened in faith by Jesus’ blood that washes and cleanses us from all sin in a baptismal flood of grace. And for Luther, this is no small thing. This way of reading Scripture is literally a matter of death and life, because our eternal relation to God is at stake. With this in mind, Luther’s comments on Psalm 51:5 illustrate the reality of the Christian life, not as going from sin to virtuous living, but from death to new life: Adam must die and decay before Christ can arise completely, and this begins with a penitent life and is completed through death. Hence death is a wholesome thing to all who believe in Christ; for it does nothing else than destroy and reduce to powder everything born of Adam, so that Christ alone may be in us.4 And so that we do not wonder how Christ alone may be in us who are miserable, unholy sinners, Luther continues [Psalm 51:11], adding that, the Holy Spirit must do it all for us. “The Holy Spirit must make me holy and sustain me. Furthermore, without the Holy Spirit Himself there is no gift or grace satisfactory to God.”5 We are sinful, and that is all we ever bring to our relationship with God. On the other hand, God is kind, gracious, and forgiving for Christ’s sake. That is what He brings to the relationship. Therefore, until we are wholly dead to sin and wholly alive to Christ we can’t be in a right relation to God. This is why we continue to listen and learn from Dr. Luther today. He points us to the reality of the Christian life as revealed to us by God’s Word of Law and Gospel in Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. It’s why we can rejoice when we read the Bible, do theology, and go about our life because, as Luther says, we give God nothing, but only take from Him. This is how He wants to be God for us. God gives, He does not take.6 And to that Good News we can’t help but say, consistent with our “simul” selves, “O Lord, open my sinful lips, and my justified mouth will declare Christ’s praise.” Rev. Donavon Riley is the pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Webster, Minnesota. He is also the online content manager for Higher Things. 1 Luther’s Works, Volume 26, pages 340-343. 2 Luther’s Works, Volume 14, page 168. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid.

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On B H

New Softw By Rev. William M. Cwirla

ave you ever tried running new software on an old computer? I have. My old laptop comes to mind—my trusty old road warrior. I’ve replaced the keyboard, the hard disk, and the logic board, three batteries and a few other spare parts from eBay. It’s not my primary computer, which is a desktop, but I try to make the old laptop as compatible as possible. However, I find that the new versions of software just don’t run well on old hardware.

Photo by Hugo Felix/Shutterstock.com

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That’s a picture of the Christian life. Luther called it being “simul justus et peccator,” which is Latin for simultaneously a righteous saint and a damned sinner. We sometimes speak of our “Old Adam” or “sinful nature” and our “new man” in Christ. Old You and New You. Old You is the sinner born of Adam, hopelessly infected with the virus called sin. New You is the saint born of God, pure and holy. The Scriptures call Old You the “outer man” or the “flesh” and New You the “inner man” or the “spirit.” The key to understanding the Christian life as it is lived by faith is that New You is hidden “in, with and under” Old You—a Christ-mind operating an Adam-body. In Baptism, the Spirit has given you a new operating system, new software, New You. You have the mind and the will of Christ. You delight in the Law


Being ‘‘Simul’’

tware on Old Hardware of God and you desire to do what is pleasing to God. The trouble is that New You is running on Old You’s hardware. As a result, there are the inevitable crashes and glitches. This is how the apostle Paul describes it:“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members” (Romans 7:21-23). In other words, New Paul, his “inmost self,” really wants to do God’s will and delights in God’s law. But the hardware for Old Paul, what he calls his “members,” refuses to cooperate. Old Paul has a terrible virus called sin that causes him to crash every time he tries to do the will of God. Whenever he wants to do good, evil always lies close at hand. He can’t seem to get anything right. Everything he does is infected with sin, even his good works. And what is Paul’s analysis of the situation? “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) Martin Luther communicated an amazingly profound insight in a series of statements he drafted for a debate at Heidelberg, Germany in 1518. This was very early in the Reformation—only a year after he had nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. In his Heidelberg theses, Luther said that everything man does, even when God is working through man, is sin. That’s because the inner man, the new person in Christ, must always work through the outer man, the old person in Adam. In other words, New You must always use Old You’s hardware. That explains a lot of things. It explains why our works can’t save us. They are always sinful even when they are good! It explains why faith alone justifies us before God. Only Christ’s works are without sin. It explains why we always seem to mess up, especially in spiritual things, why we can’t seem to stick with prayer or God’s Word, why we’re not glad when they say, “Let’s go to the house of the Lord.” It’s because New You always has to work through Old You. The righteous saint must always work through the sinner. No wonder the apostle Paul cries out, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 8)

It also explains why we can’t seem to fix ourselves. The Christian life is not about retraining old hardware to run new software. Old You is not fixable; it’s destined to die. Instead, Old You must be forced to go along with the program, at least for the moment. That’s where the Law comes in. The Law curbs, mirrors and instructs Old You to death. It curbs Old You’s behaviors; mirrors sin, and instructs with punishments and rewards, much the way you train an old dog new tricks. And you know how well that works. Old You’s hardware is simply not suited for holiness. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.” Until you come into new hardware in the resurrection, New You’s software is going to have to make the best of trying to control Old You’s hardware. Does that mean we simply sin to our heart’s content and ask for forgiveness? No! It means that we say “no” to Old Adam, and we bring him under discipline. Even though our new man in Christ needs no Law, our New You uses the Law to threaten, bribe, coerce our old hardware to go with the holiness program. That’s why we set alarms on Sunday for church. The New Adam is glad when they say, “Let’s go to the house of the Lord,” but the Old Adam says, “I’d rather roll over and go sleep.” For now you live “simul” by grace through faith for Jesus’ sake as a New You in Christ stuck in an Adam’s Old You hardware. That may not be a pretty sight to those keeping score, but in Christ you are already justified, sanctified, and glorified (1 Corinthians 6). You’re just waiting to be rescued from this “body of death” to rise with new hardware to run that Christ-like software. Editor’s Note: This article has been slightly updated since its original publication in the Summer 2012 issue of Higher Things Magazine. As it so uniquely expresses what the Simul is we felt it essential to include in this issue. Rev. William M. Cwirla is the pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, California, as well as a president emeritus of Higher Things.

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Illustration by Drawgood/Shutterstock.com

C hr is t ia n i t y:

Secret Battles Inner Peace &

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By Rev. Harrison Goodman


Romans 6. Shall we sin that grace may abound?

By no means. We’re baptized. Dead to sin. Alive in Christ. It should be simple. It isn’t. Here’s baptized me: still lusting after evil and feeling even worse for it, now that I know just how terrible it is.

This is where Old Adam looks for excuses. What if it makes me happy? Does that even apply today? Is it really a sin if…But faith does not ask “How can I take God’s word less seriously?” It can’t. That’s the wrong question to ask. I love the Word. Even the Law. I just can’t stand to see how the Law makes me look. It feels gross. Nobody else looks like I feel. They look pious. Righteous. Good. I want to feel that way, too. I just can’t seem to quit sinning. Romans 6. We are dead to sin, but only a chapter later Paul’s already losing his mind over it. Romans 7: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” I think he made it that confusing on purpose. Paul. The apostle who wrote the “love is patient, love is kind” chapter that’s so beautiful everyone wants it at their wedding. The poet. The scholar. The rhetorician. The Spirit put words on paper through him that shame Shakespeare and JK Rowling alike. Still, here’s Paul jabbering like a schizophrenic scribbling on the walls with a crayon. I love it. This is who we are. Simul justus et peccator. Simultaneously just and sinner. Not sometimes one and sometimes the

other. Both. Always. 100% saint. 100% sinner. And it’s confusing. And it’s war. And it’s the life of the Christian. We’re all fighting secret battles no matter how we look on the outside. This is where the devil lies to you: “Take the word less seriously, then you won’t feel so bad.” Just like he whispered to Eve, he asks us, “Did God really say that’s not allowed?” The devil loves it when we measure peace by a feeling of calm. The truth is, if the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh are constantly assaulting us, the more at peace with yourself that you feel in the middle of it, the closer you are to destruction. If you ie outside in a blizzard overnight and notice that you don’t feel so cold anymore, it’s not a good sign. That’s nerve death. You’re dying. That’s bad. When you don’t feel at war with sin anymore and feel kind of warm inside, you’re either dying or dead. Christianity is war. War isn’t calm. Want peace? Stop measuring your faith by your secret battles. Measure it by Christ’s public one. That’s what crayon-on-the-wall Paul does. Throws up his hands to all of it. “Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He is our peace. Peace is not found in prying yourself farther from God’s Word to avoid guilt, but in getting closer to God’s Word to cleanse it. Don’t measure your faith in your works. Measure it in Christ’s. Sin is dead. Jesus is risen. And you are baptized into Jesus. That’s what freedom really looks like. It’s war. That struggle is a good sign. Fight. We might feel like we’re losing the battle daily but Christ has already won the war. No more excuses. No more lies. We call good “good” and evil “evil” because we’re united to His victory. We don’t need to lie our way

into feeling better. Are you baptized? Good. You’re saved. Still feel at war? Go to confession. Hear your pastor speak these words: “In the stead and by the command of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” You don’t even have to wait until Sunday to do it. Call him. Text him. God doesn’t forgive sins once a week. He gives you a pastor to give you that true peace whenever you need it. Faith in Jesus goes to Jesus. Simple stuff really. God makes it look and sound like something so that when we can’t feel like it, we can still measure the victory. Baptism. Confession. Lord’s Supper. That’s Romans 8. That “If God is for us, who can be against us” part. The “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” stuff. Still war, but a finished one. The victory stands on His resurrection and His promises specifically FOR when everything else is falling apart. We live all three of these chapters in Romans. Chapter 6: dead to sin, alive with Christ. Chapter 7: war. Chapter 8: victory where God is with us to strengthen and save. All of it is in Jesus. Inner peace comes from receiving Jesus from the outside through means. We find our peace in the Sacraments, which give Jesus to sinners losing secret battles. Simultaneously saint and sinner. That’s not license to sin. It’s an identity that the war we lose each day can’t sully. We are Christian. Holy—because Jesus makes us that way. Splash in it: baptized. Listen to it: absolved. Taste it: communed. Who will save us from this body of death? Jesus. Rev. Harrison Goodman has accepted a divine call to serve as pastor of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio, Texas. He is a current contributor to the Largely Catechized Life podcasts at Higher Things.

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Well, Do You Believ By Rev. Mark Buetow

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24)

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o you believe in God? Absolutely not! I hate God. I hate the idea of God. There is no “supreme being.” Life is what you make it and I’m on my own to do the best I can until I die. Do you believe in God? Yes! I believe that Jesus is the Christ! He died for me and lives in me and works in me to do good to others and love my neighbor. The first answer sounds like a staunch atheist, firm in his lack of belief in God. The second sounds like the answer a Christian would give. But what if both of those answers are from a Christian? Does that even make sense? How can you not believe and believe at the same time?

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Jesus encountered a man with a demon-possessed son who told Him, “If you are able, do something.” It’s almost as if he wasn’t sure Jesus could drive the demon out. Jesus replies, “If you are able to believe, all things are possible…” So the man cries out, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” This is a beautiful confession of faith that this man makes. He clearly trusts in Jesus and yet he realizes his faith is weak and, in fact, he is full of unbelief at the same time. How can that be? God’s Word teaches that we are completely saints, justified by grace, sanctified and made holy by Jesus and perfect in God’s sight for Christ’s sake. Yet we are also completely sinners, enemies of God, our sinful flesh denying Him and trying to do its own thing all the time. It’s what Paul struggles with as he confesses to the Romans: “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:22-25). He also describes this in Galatians, saying, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:17-18). You know this struggle. You know the right thing to do and the sin you’d rather commit to do something else. You know how to behave, and what the Commandments say, but you also know the lure and draw of temptations to sin. You

know that Jesus died for you and rose again and that all your sins are forgiven, and yet you wonder and doubt whether all of that is true. Maybe you wonder if Jesus is even real. These thoughts are warring against each other all the time. Your sinful nature, led on by the glittering temptations of the world and the whispers of the devil, wants to go one way. But as a new creation in Christ, born from above in Holy Baptism, with a mind captive to Christ Jesus, you want to flee from sin and do what is right and what glorifies God and is a good blessing for those around you. That’s the “simul” which comes from the phrase “simul justus et peccator,” which means “simultaneously saint and sinner.” That’s just a description of our life in this world as we live as Christians who have sinful flesh but are new creations in Jesus.


How do we reconcile these two natures in us? How do we live with both of them? This is not something we can do. It must be done by Christ’s work and gifts in us. This is why the Small Catechism teaches this way about Baptism: What does such baptizing with water indicate? It indicates that the Old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires. It also indicates that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever. In other words, it is Jesus who overcomes your sin and delivers you through the promises He makes to you in Holy Baptism. It looks kind of like this: Whatever in you that is sinful and wicked and unbelieving is covered, forgiven, and buried.

Whatever in you that is good, and holy, and a new creation is strengthened and blessed in you as Christ lives in you. But the two natures in you are not equal. One is the power of sin, stirred up by the world and the devil. The other is of God Himself, redeemed by Jesus and made holy by the Spirit who gives you the forgiveness that wins out over the sins of your flesh. The struggle is answered by Jesus and overcome by Him and what He has done by His cross and death and resurrection, and what He gives you in your Baptism, Absolution, and His Word and Supper. You see, because we have this struggle, it is often taught that if we just remember that God gives us the power, and we add in some willpower, we’ll be able to simply make the right choice, avoid the sin, and be holy by our actions. But what we really need is the Gospel, the Good News, the forgiveness of sins that Jesus gives us to not count our sinful flesh’s actions against us but instead to cultivate faith, hope, love, and good works as the fruit of faith in us. It’s the forgiveness we receive from Jesus that is used by the Spirit to actually work in us to fight off the sinful nature and to let our new person in Christ be busy living for others. So the answer to this struggle is to live in Christ and His gifts. It means to be in church where His forgiveness is given out and it means to live each day remembering our Baptism, putting down our sinful nature in repentance and living in faith as the new people we are in Christ. If someone asks whether we believe in God, we can say, “Well, according to my sinful nature, not at all. But that sinful nature has been crucified with Christ! What I trust in now is the Savior who has made me a new creation. I do believe! And I pray every day for the Lord to help my unbelief!” After all, when it comes to our faith and our unbelief, faith is from Jesus, and whatever is from Him and in Him will win out over that which isn’t. It has to, because Jesus is greater than our sin and He has triumphed over sin and death and has triumphed over your sin and death! Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.

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Photo by Miljan Zivkovic Drawgood/Shutterstock.com

ve or Not? Yes! Help!


Good Guy or Bad Guy? By Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz

I

admit it. I am a nerd. I enjoy reading comics and graphic novels, watching superhero movies and shows on Netflix, and occasionally imagining that I’m the hero in whatever boardgame I’m playing.

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Why do we enjoy watching, reading or acting out stories of conflict between good and evil? To be sure, it’s entertaining and enjoyable; good stories awaken and speak to our imagination, all of which are part of God’s gifts of creation. Some of the best stories go further, however, by telling us a tale of good versus evil, redemption, and hope that points us to greatest story of all: Jesus’ death and resurrection for us, where good triumphs over evil once for all; where our redemption is won; and where we find true and lasting hope, and comfort. One of the many reasons we can’t get enough of the kind of stories where the good guy kicks the bad guy’s butt and wins the day is that we want to see ourselves as the hero. We want to see ourselves in the story, as the good guy. We want to be Batman swooping down on the Joker to foil his plans yet again. We want to be Captain America thwarting the evil schemes of Hydra. We want to be Superman saving Metropolis from the dastardly plans of Lex Luthor. We want to be the Avengers preparing to take on Thanos and rescue the universe. Like wicked Queen Grimhilde in Snow White, we look in

the mirror and ask ourselves, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” And we expect the answer to be: “Why, you of course!” Sure, maybe I’m not perfect, but at least I’m not as bad as that guy over there. The Scriptures, however, paint a rather different, more realistic picture of our human nature. It is less like a magic mirror, and more like the hideous portrait in the classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, that revealed Dorian’s true self-destruction. St. Paul puts the mirror of God’s Law before our faces in Romans 3 and declares: “None is righteous, no, not one.” Thankfully, that’s not the end of our story. St. Paul also holds the cross before our eyes and declares: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). So who are we? Are we the villain or the hero? The bad guy or the good guy? Sinner or saint? Scripture’s answer is that we are both—in this life, that is. That’s the key phrase. In this life, we are both the villain and the hero, the bad guy and the good guy, sinner and saint. We are at once condemned in sin and justified by grace through faith in Christ. We are like Dr. Jekyll, constantly battling our inner Mr. Hyde. We are like Smeagol, daily warring against our inner Gollum, our corrupted, fallen nature. We are like Eustace Scrubb who was un-dragoned in C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The truth is, we are baptized, undragoned, and the cure has begun, yet, we are wearied by our own sin. The Lutheran reformers even coined a helpful Latin phrase to summarize Scripture’s teaching. In this life, Christians are simul justus et peccator. We are simultaneously justified and sinner. Listen to how St. Paul speaks about the baptized Christian in this life:


For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15-25)

We are not frozen in carbonite. For on the cross, Jesus became the villain for us. He who knew no sin became sin that in Him we might receive the righteousness of God. On the cross, Jesus suffered defeat to win the decisive victory over our archenemies of sin and the devil. On the cross, Jesus destroyed the last enemy— death—once and for all for you. Jesus won the day for you. For all. Forever. Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is the pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, Washington.

According to St. Paul, in Adam we are villains— dirty, rotten scoundrels to the core. And yet in Christ, we are made new, holy, perfect, righteous, and good. By birth, we have the old man, dead in trespasses and sin in Adam. And by new birth from above in Holy Baptism we are made a new man in Christ, our second Adam. We have old Adam, our sinful nature. And we have a new Adam, a saintly, godly, holy, righteous nature won for us by the true and only hero of the story, Jesus crucified and risen for us. And that’s the truly remarkable good news for us. Though we are simul justus et peccator in this life, our battle between good and evil is not an endless standoff. We are not stuck in stalemate. S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 _ 21


Find Your Rest By Rev. Gaven M. Mize

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here is only one silence that that calls out to people. Here and there you might hear the shuffling of feet. The blowing of a nose, a quick exhale, a desperation that feels the room when the pews creak and the wooden floor squeaks out a reminder that the room isn’t empty after all. Yet, in between those moments there is a deafening silence. It’s a silence that calls out to you, making you realize that the one you love who lies in the casket before you will not speak your name again. This silence calls to us all. Momento mori—Latin for “Remember, you too, will die.”

As that silence, and the tormenting thought that you will one day be in that casket begins to take hold of you, you hear a voice singing softly as it caresses away your anxiety and fears: “Lord Jesus, since You love me, Now spread Your wings above me And shield me from alarm. Though Satan would devour me, Let angel guards sing o’er me: This child of God shall meet no harm.” Safe. Loved. Shielded. All these truths fill your ears reminding you that you are a child of God. Thanks be to God, so is the one who lies in the casket. You are reminded of the truth that though your loved one is dead, he lives. And then again your ears perk up to:

Photo by Cali Godley Lightstock.com

“My loved ones, rest securely, For God this night will surely From peril guard your heads. Sweet slumbers may He send you And bid His hosts attend you And through the night watch o’er your beds.” As a pastor I sing “Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow” (by Paul Gerhardt) before every funeral. I sing it from the back of the nave. I begin the song very softly and try my best to weave in and out between the sadness and gladness of all who are attending. As I approach the end of the hymn I pick up my voice and sing triumphantly for the hearers to know that, while what is about to happen is going to hurt and while they don’t want to say “goodbye” to their loved ones, that still the grace of Christ envelopes them. This is “simul justus et peccator” simultaneously saint and sinner in all its reality, directly before our eyes. Christians might use the term, “simul” as a cool phrase but it’s vital to begin to understand the depth of the term, so that we might understand how meaningful it truly is. The brutal reality is that we are 100% sinner and we are 100% saint and we spend this life trying to reconcile that, sometimes forgetting that Jesus already has done so. This becomes very evident at a funeral, as

much as it does when you are in private confession, or when you slip back into that pet sin and immediately grit your teeth and beg God to remind you that you actually are His child born from the waters of Holy Baptism. And you are. You are simultaneously a saint and a sinner, which means you, too, will be in that casket one day, but thankfully only for a time. For Christ will come for His Bride, the Church. It is then that we can face the day once again. Even as the sun is setting on the day you bury your loved one you remember the pastor singing: “The rule of day is over And shining jewels cover The heaven’s boundless blue. Thus I shall shine in heaven, Where crowns of gold are given To all who faithful prove and true.” With a sigh of relief, you can know that you will see your loved one again. In fact, you will see Christ with them. So, lay down your head. Close your eyes. Pray that God’s angels keep guard over you. You have had a sad and difficult day. Rest. Shadows are forming and sleep is calling. What more is there to do after all? Other than to: “Now rest beneath night’s shadow The woodland, field, and meadow; The world in slumber lies. But you, my heart, awaken, With prayer and song be taken; Let praise to your Creator rise.” Tomorrow when you awake, remember your Baptism. Go boldly into the day. I’ll see you come that final dawn when the simul is no longer the reality with which we must contend, and we experience the fullness of our salvation—our sainthood—in Christ. Rev. Gaven M. Mize is the pastor of Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hickory, North Carolina. He also serves on the doctrinal review team for Higher Things.

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Catechism For this Simul issue of Higher Things Magazine, I’m going to take a step back from discussing the details of the liturgy to ask a very basic question: Why liturgy? Why do we have orders of service and rites and forms of worship handed down to us? Why hymnals and service folders? Why assigned readings and hymns?

Why Liturgy? T

By Rev. William M. Cwirla

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he most basic answer is because we are “simul”—simultaneously old and new, sinner and saint—in Adam and in Christ. Were we entirely new creatures in Christ, free of “old Adam,” we would need no liturgy. Our worship would be spontaneous, free, Spirit-led, pure and holy. We would spontaneously join the angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven in their endless trishagion (“Holy, holy, holy”) and their eternal praise to the Lamb who was slain but lives (see Revelation 4-5). We would need no hymnal, no service folder, no screens. We would not need someone to say, “Let us pray” or “Come, let us worship the Lord.” We would know what to say, pray, and sing, and our minds and hearts would be completely attuned to the Son by the Spirit giving glory to the Father. But then comes the “simul.” Though we are now seated with Christ in the heavenly realm as saints (Ephesians 2:6), we haven’t quite arrived at our resurrection. We walk by faith and not by sight. We hear but we cannot see. We live in the in-between time tension of the “now” and the “not yet.” We are now in Christ, but we are not yet risen from the dead. Old Adam still clings to us with his own notions of how we should worship, and for that reason alone, we need the liturgy. The liturgy is an exercise in sanctified selfdiscipline, in putting to death the sinful flesh with its desires so that the new you in Christ can worship in Spirit and truth. Old Adam would like to worship his way. He would like to sing the songs he likes and sing about what he does. He loves to sing about I, me, and we and he relishes to talk to God

about what he thinks is important—parading his piety before God and others. Don’t think for a moment that Old Adam isn’t religious. He is very religious, but not in a good way. He uses religion to justify himself before God, often at the expense of others. He’s the Pharisee who comes to the temple in order to boast over what he has done and to thank God he isn’t like that horrible tax collector. He loves to pray on the street corner and boast about his charity and fasting. The last thing Old Adam wants is to be justified as a sinner. The liturgy is an exercise in humility and obedience, two words that our sinful nature hates. I’ve been on sabbatical for the last three months and have been free to worship at different congregations each Sunday. The good part is that I get to sit with my bride in the pew and be a hearer instead of a preacher, a worshipper rather than a presider. The bad part is I don’t get to pick the hymns or decide what to preach. I have to set my will and ego aside at the church door and sing the hymns that are given to me and listen to the Word that is preached to me and worship the way that congregation worships. I have no control over those things. It’s humbling not to be in control and to be obedient to the will of another. We learn to give for the sake of others. We learn to consider the needs of those around us before our own needs. We learn the way of Christ who humbled Himself in obedience even to death so that He might be exalted and we might be exalted in Him (Philippians 2:1-11). The liturgy is also an exercise in honoring father and mother under the Fourth Commandment. We didn’t invent the liturgy. It was handed down to


us and taught to us by our fathers and mothers in the faith. And they didn’t invent it either, but it was taught to them by their fathers and mothers. When we worship together with our father and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers in the faith, we honor them. We aren’t the first to believe in Jesus and, should the Lord continue to delay, we won’t be the last. The “kid” in us always wants to have our own way of doing things, like the kid’s menu at a restaurant where we don’t like the adult food. The kid’s menu teaches us that we don’t have to eat what the adults eat, that we’re special and can always have what we like. The liturgy teaches us the opposite. It enables us to move from the milk of newborns to the solid food of mature men and women in Christ. To put it bluntly, the liturgy helps us to grow up and stop being spiritual babies. I know much of this sounds like Law, especially in a third-use, self-disciplined way, and that’s true.

liturgy is an exercise in the third use of the Law, the Christian self-discipline of doing things Christ’s way instead of our way. But the liturgy is also Gospel, delivering the good news gifts of Christ to the baptized children of God to nourish and sustain them in their walk of repentance and faith. God not only kills the sinner, He also raises the saint. And nothing delights the saint in Christ more than to hear the words of our Good Shepherd Jesus and to eat at the table He prepares for us in the face of our enemies: sin, death, and the devil. Why the liturgy? Because it’s good for us “simul” Christians in our baptismal walk of daily dying to self and rising to Christ. Thank God for the liturgy! Rev. William M. Cwirla is the pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, California, as well as a president emeritus of Higher Things.

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Secret Battles Inner Peace &

A HIGHER THINGS BIBLE STUDY • Spring 2019

1 2

Begin by singing “Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness” (LSB 563).

Rev. Goodman’s article lists several excuses to sin made by the Old Adam. “What if it makes me happy? Does that even apply today? Is it really a sin if…? Talk with a partner. Which of these excuses do you struggle most with? Can you think of any other excuses that the Old Adam makes to sin?

3

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Read Romans 6:1-11, specifically focusing on verse 11. What is our relationship to sin? When does this new reality start?

4 5

Take a look at Romans 7:15. What effect does sin have on Paul? How is this similar in us?

Read through Romans 7:16-20. Take note of Paul’s personal description of the power of sin. How does he describe sin’s actions within him? Does this absolve him of responsibility of his sin?

6 7 8 9

Move on to Romans 7:21-23. What is Paul’s opinion of God’s law? Where does this come from?

Now look at Romans 7:24. Describe the emotion used by Paul here. Have you ever felt this way? Finally, read Romans 7:25. Where does this sorrow over sin lead Paul?

How can confession and Absolution help us as we struggle with our simultaneous natures of saint and sinner?

10

Close by singing “Jesus sinners Doth Receive” (LSB 609).

To access the Leader’s Guide for this study, as well as Bible studies for articles in this issue and previous issues, as a part of an HTOnline subscription, point your browser to: higherthings.org/magazine/biblestudies.html.


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“Well Do You Believe or Not? Yes! Help!” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Leader’s Guide 1. Begin by confessing the Apostles’ Creed. 2. There are many things that we trust in as we go through our daily lives. For example, we trust our car to safely carry us from point A to point B. Think of some other things that we trust every day. How does this differ from our trust in God? We trust the roof of our house not to fall on us. In this we are trusting that the architect designed the house soundly, that the builders built it well, and that age has not deteriorated the house. Another example is that we trust our military and government. We allow the military and president to worry about national security concerns and aren’t constantly looking to the skies in fear. There are several good answers for how our trust in God is different. First, we trust God more than any of the other daily things that we put our trust in. We fear, love, and trust Him above all things. Second, some of those things may fail us. It is conceivable that the government may one day fail to protect us. God will never fail us. Other good answers exist. 3. As we begin our study, read Mark 9:1-13. What is the context of this passage? Jesus had just come down of the mountain after being transfigured before James, Peter, and John, in an incredible display of power they hadn’t witnessed yet. 4. Read Mark 9:14-18. How does the demon show his power over the boy? The demon shows his power by not allowing the boy to speak. He also throws him to the ground and causes his mouth to foam. Since the fall, we often see God’s creation in the grip of sin, death, and the devil. For a time, Satan and his demons are exercising some measure of control over God’s good world. 5. Read Mark 9:19-23. What new information are we given about the power that the demon has over the boy? What impact do you think this had on the boy’s life and family? Not only does the demon show his power over the boy, he actively tries to destroy him by casting him into fire and water. It is worth noting that God apparently has not allowed the demon to succeed in destroying the boy. Rather, the demon must continually attempt to destroy the boy because he is apparently failing. This demon having control over the boy must have gripped his entire life and the life of his family. You can almost imagine a note of desperation in the father of the boy as he begs Jesus for help. 6. Read Mark 9:24. What did this say about the man’s faith? The man clearly trusted in Jesus and His ability to bring healing to his son. He also saw the weakness in his faith as he encountered the power of Satan.

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


7. Read the explanation to the Third Article of the Creed in Luther’s Small Catechism. According to the catechism, where does faith come from? How is it given/maintained? Faith is a gift of God from the Holy Spirit. We do not seek out God. We do not create, maintain, or preserve faith in ourselves, but God alone is responsible for our faith. This faith is continually sustained in God’s Holy Church. 8. How does “I believe, help my unbelief” become the cry of the Christian? We do believe. We confess the creed. We trust in Jesus. But we recognize that as frail sinners, our faith is not our own achievement. We constantly rely on God to preserve our faith, given to us in Baptism, throughout our lives. He does this through His Word and Sacraments. We ask God to keep us in the one true faith until we die or Christ returns. 9. Read Mark 9:25-27. Is the man’s faith well-founded? How does Jesus prove that we can trust Him? Yes it is! There is no surer foundation than Jesus Christ! Jesus relieves the boy of his burden, sending the evil demon fleeing from him. By dying in our place and rising again, Jesus proves that we can trust Him. Whatever complaints or doubts we may have are answered by Jesus’ descent to the depths of human woe for us and His new, resurrected life!

Closing Sing together, “Salvation Unto Us Has Come” (LSB 555).

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“Well Do You Believe or Not? Yes! Help!” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY 1. Begin by confessing the Apostles’ Creed.

2. There are many things that we trust in as we go through our daily lives. For example, we trust our car to safely carry us from point A to point B. Think of some other things that we trust every day. How does this differ from our trust in God?

3. As we begin our study, read Mark 9:1-13. What is the context of this passage?

4. Read Mark 9:14-18. How does the demon show his power over the boy?

5. Read Mark 9:19-23. What new information are we given about the power that the demon has over the boy? What impact do you think this had on the boy’s life and family?

6. Read Mark 9:24. What did this say about the man’s faith?

7. Read the explanation to the Third Article of the Creed in Luther’s Small Catechism. According to the catechism, where does faith come from? How is it given/maintained?

8. How does “I believe, help my unbelief” become the cry of the Christian?

9. Read Mark 9:25-27. Is the man’s faith well-founded? How does Jesus prove that we can trust Him?

Closing Sing together, “Salvation Unto Us Has Come” (LSB 555).

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“The Law AIsHIGHER for You Even Now” THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Leader’s Guide 1. Read Romans 5:18–21 and Galatians 3:19–25. According to St. Paul, what is the over-arching purpose of the Law? The Law is meant to increase trespasses (Romans 5:20) and was, in fact, added because of transgressions (sins) (Galatians 3:19). But the main purpose of the Law, God’s overarching goal in giving it, was to lead people to Christ. The Law doesn’t do it in a good way. It’s the stick, the rod, the goad that will drive you by force into death and despair. “The Law says, ‘Do this,’ and it’s never done,” says Luther. And it’s true. God doesn’t just want the letter of the Law cherished and done, He wants the spirit of the Law done as well. That means not just doing the outward work but doing it with pure and proper motivation.
 2. Read Romans 13:1–7 and 1 Peter 2:13–14. What is the First Use of the Law? Where does it chiefly operate? God has established governments out in the world in order to keep law and order. Police, m,ilitary, and governments are a result of the fall. Through these “civil authorities” people hurting other people is kept at bay. It’s not perfect. There are those people who hop the curb of the Law. They cause harm, mayhem, destruction, maybe even death. But the curb always gets bigger. After the mall cop comes the policeman, after the police comes S.W.A.T., after them the National Guard, after them the army, after them the entire armed forces, after them all our allies. 3. Read Ephesians 6:1–3. Where’s another place that the curb of the Law is at work? This curb of the Law works at home, too. It’s sad to say but our parents also are a First Use of the Law sometimes. And that curb also gets bigger, too.
 4. Read Romans 3:19–20. What’s the Second Use of the Law? How important is this? The Second Use of the Law is a mirror. It shows us our sin. For us Lutherans this is the most important use of the Law. Because it shows us our sin, it shows us our need for Jesus. This fits with the Law’s overarching purpose, to lead us to Christ Jesus. As Paul says elsewhere, “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” (Romans 11:32)
 5. Read 1 Timothy 1:8–11. Who is the Law for? To put it simply, the Law is for sinners and not for saints. The righteous don’t need the Law, but this shouldn’t be understood in an overly simplistic way. This doesn’t mean that Christians don’t need the Law. Christians are still sinners. And the Law is for sinners. If you were only 100% saint and not also 100% sinner, you wouldn’t need the Law. But in this life you still do. To put it another way, the Law is for everyone who has an Old Adam.
 6. Read Galatians 3:10–14. What do we deserve under the Law? What did Christ do? We deserve to be cursed. That’s what the Law delivers. But Christ Himself bore that curse. He was borne “under the Law” (Galatians 4:4). He was crucified for our sins. But He didn’t just do it apart from our sins. Jesus “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24) and “was made to be sin, even though He knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are no longer under a curse but are under Christ, saved by Him.


© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


7. Read Galatians 3:26–29 and Titus 3:4–8a. How are we part of Christ’s salvation and righteousness? In Holy Baptism, we have been renewed. We’ve given new life (Romans 6:4), the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5–6), clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:26), been made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), sanctified through the washing of water and the word (Ephesians 5:26)—all these are benefits of Holy Baptism. So, you are a saint because Jesus made you one in Baptism. You’re in on His salvation there.
 8. Read Galatians 5:16–6:5; 1 Corinthians 16:1–2; and Philemon 13–14, 17-20. For what purpose does St. Paul write these? These passages are examples. They are typical of Paul’s letters. There is always instruction or teaching by Paul in what the Christians life does and does not look like. He describes it not as self-serving sin (sin is selfishness) but as self-sacrificing love and forgiveness. We are not redeemed that we can sin so grace can abound (Romans 6:1). We need this teaching because of our Old Adam. Our new man in Christ would freely do all that God requires, but the Old Adam hangs around our neck. We must be shown how our works don’t measure up. We need to be forced to do certain things. Paul’s letter to Philemon bears this out: Paul expects voluntary service (“God loves a cheerful giver,” 2 Corinthians 9:7), and yet he guilts Philemon at the same time. 9. Read Galatians 3:1–9. How is it that we live by the Spirit? Even though we should cherish and do the Law, even though fruit of the Spirit flows out from the Gospel, and even though the Law is good and perfect and right and good, we don’t begin with the Spirit and finish with the flesh, we don’t start with the Gospel and end with the Law. The Law doesn’t enliven. God works wonders by “hearing the Gospel with faith.” Your Baptism renews you. God’s Word gives Life. Jesus’ Body and Blood give you life as well. The Spirit will enliven you. He already has. Since you are in Christ, you’ve already crucified the flesh (Galatians 5:24). It will be fully so by the Spirit’s work alone.
 10. Read Philippians 2:12–13 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24. How does God work in us? God is working within you through His Word of Law and His Word of Gospel. Through these He kills you and makes you alive. He works within you both “to will and to do according to His good pleasure.” He will sanctify you completely at Jesus’ Second Coming. “He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it.” He does it not through His Word of Law but through His Word of Gospel. His Word of Law will lead you to His Word of Gospel. More Word of Gospel, more life worked by the Spirit.

Closing Sing together, “The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace,” (LSB 580).

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“The Law AIsHIGHER for You Even Now” THINGS® BIBLE STUDY 1. Read Romans 5:18–21 and Galatians 3:19–25. According to St. Paul, what is the over-arching purpose of the Law?

2. Read Romans 13:1–7 and 1 Peter 2:13–14. What is the First Use of the Law? Where does it chiefly operate?

3. Read Ephesians 6:1–3. Where’s another place that the curb of the Law is at work?

4. Read Romans 3:19–20. What’s the Second Use of the Law? How important is this?

5. Read 1 Timothy 1:8–11. Who is the Law for?

6. Read Galatians 3:10–14. What do we deserve under the Law? What did Christ do?

7. Read Galatians 3:26–29 and Titus 3:4–8a. How are we part of Christ’s salvation and righteousness?

8. Read Galatians 5:16–6:5; 1 Corinthians 16:1–2; and Philemon 13–14, 17-20. For what purpose does St. Paul write these?

9. Read Galatians 3:1–9. How is it that we live by the Spirit?

10. Read Philippians 2:12–13 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24. How does God work in us?

Closing Sing together, “The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace,” (LSB 580).

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“Why Liturgy?” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Leader’s Guide 1. Think back to when you were a child. If your parents would have allowed you to eat whatever you wanted, what would you have chosen? Answers will vary. Perhaps it will be something sweet like cotton candy or ice cream. These things are good in moderation but cannot sustain a person for daily living. If time allows, ask them how their stomachs would feel after eating too much of one of these things! 2. What foods do/did our parents feed us to ensure that we are nourished and able to have energy to get through the day? Our parents feed us meat, vegetables, and other balanced foods to keep us healthy, rather than merely feed us junk. Thinking further back in our childhood, we needed far less as infants (all we needed was our mother’s milk) than we do as teenagers or adults. 3. Read Exodus 16:13-16. What did God provide for the Israelites to eat? God provided “bread from heaven,” also called manna, to sustain his people in the wilderness. While they did not know this at the time, this bread from heaven was intended to point them to the true Bread from heaven, Jesus Christ, who always satisfies. 4. Read Exodus 16:17-21. How did the people disobey God? What did this show about them? What was the result? The people saved food until the morning rather than taking only what was necessary for the day. It showed a distrust in God’s provision. They didn’t want to take the chance that He would not provide all they needed, so they took for themselves and hoarded the manna. As a result, that manna was rotted and full of worms! God provides all we need. We ought not doubt His provision. 5. Read Ezekiel 3:1-2. We again encounter a biblical story about eating, but this is a different type of eating. What is Ezekiel told to eat? Ezekiel is told to eat the scroll, the message, the prophecy which God was revealing to His people. Rather than eating food, He was being given God’s Holy Word to eat. Take note that He responds in faith and obedience to God’s command. 6. Read Ezekiel 3:3. How is this scroll described? The scroll is a). given by God, b). suitable for filling one’s stomach, and c). sweet like honey. As God’s gift, it is part of His provision for Ezekiel and then for Israel through His prophecy. It fills the stomach, satisfying the hunger of the one who eats. 7. How is God’s Word sweet? Is there a particular part of God’s Word that you find sweet? God’s Word is sweet because it tells us the Gospel, the good news of God’s actions to redeem us by the blood of His Son! It is sweet because it gives life and salvation to all who believe! There may be certain passages or themes that stick out as “sweet” to you. The “sweetest” part of God’s message to us in His Word is the Gospel. Encourage students to think of passages or verses from the Scriptures that are sweet.

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


8. How does the Liturgy deliver God’s Word to us? Look at Pastor Cwirla’s article again if you need a refresher. It allows us to receive what God gives. The Liturgy allows God’s Word to shape and form us rather than our own will, ego, and intent. The liturgy feeds us with exactly what we need. 9. Pastor Cwirla mentions that the Liturgy has a Law element, but also a Gospel element. What part of the Liturgy reminds you most of the sweetness of God’s Word? There are many possible answers. There are many possible answers so invite the students to explain why they have chosen the parts they have.

Closing Sing together the “Venite” from the Order of Matins (LSB p. 220).

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“Why Liturgy?” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY 1. Think back to when you were a child. If your parents would have allowed you to eat whatever you wanted, what would you have chosen?

2. What foods do/did our parents feed us to ensure that we are nourished and able to have energy to get through the day?

3. Read Exodus 16:13-16. What did God provide for the Israelites to eat?

4. Read Exodus 16:17-21. How did the people disobey God? What did this show about them? What was the result?

5. Read Ezekiel 3:1-2. We again encounter a biblical story about eating, but this is a different type of eating. What is Ezekiel told to eat?

6. Read Ezekiel 3:3. How is this scroll described?

7. How is God’s Word sweet? Is there a particular part of God’s Word that you find sweet?

8. How does the Liturgy deliver God’s Word to us? Look at Pastor Cwirla’s article again if you need a refresher.

9. Pastor Cwirla mentions that the Liturgy has a Law element, but also a Gospel element. What part of the Liturgy reminds you most of the sweetness of God’s Word?

Closing Sing together the “Venite” from the Order of Matins (LSB p. 220).

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“Secret Battles and Inner Peace” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Leader’s Guide 1. Begin by singing “Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness” (LSB 563). 2. Pastor Goodman’s article lists several excuses to sin made by the Old Adam. “What if it makes me happy? Does that even apply today? Is it really a sin if…? Talk with a partner. Which of these excuses do you struggle most with? Can you think of any other excuses that the Old Adam makes to sin? Answers will vary. If participants cannot think of any, provide some examples of your own and encourage them to think harder. After all, the old Adam likes to be sneaky, but he is always making excuses to undermine us. 3. Read Romans 6:1-11, specifically focusing on verse 11. What is our relationship to sin? When does this new reality start? We are dead to sin. If you’ve ever heard anyone say/shout “you’re dead to me,” you have an idea of what this means. We are dead to sin and it to us. This new reality comes to pass in our Baptism. We die there with Christ and rise to new life—free from our old bondage to sin. 4. Take a look at Romans 7:15. What effect does sin have on Paul? How is this similar in us? Sin seems to confuse and frustrate Paul. Of all people he was aware of the new creation that exists as a baptized child of God. He lived a life of terrible sin and inflicted persecution, but God freed him from this sin and evil and made him an apostle! How frustrating it must have been to see sin still at work in himself as he took the Gospel to the Gentiles! Sin also frustrates us as we realize that we cannot keep God’s law, even as we recognize that we should and even (by God’s Spirit) desire to do so! 5. Read through Romans 7:16-20. Take note of Paul’s personal description of the power of sin. How does he describe sin’s actions within him? Does this absolve him of responsibility of his sin? Sin is described personally, as an actor in the saga of Paul’s struggle to live as God would have him live! He actually says that sin within him is doing evil. The true Paul, the baptized, new creature, doesn’t do the evil, but rather the old, sinful Paul. This does not mean that Paul feels like it’s okay to keep on sinning or try to avoid the consequences of sin. Rather it speaks to the continual warfare against sin in the Christian life. 6. Move on to Romans 7:21-23. What is Paul’s opinion of God’s law? Where does this come from? Paul recognizes that God’s law is good! In fact, he delights in God’s law in his inner being! This delight is not something that occurs in the old Adam, but is a characteristic of the new creature, raised with Christ. This is not a work or achievement of Paul, but a gift of the Holy Spirit. 7. Now look at Romans 7:24. Describe the emotion used by Paul here. Have you ever felt this way? When we sin, God’s law exposes us as transgressors and rebels against our Holy God. Especially because we desire to do better, our sins hurt and grieve us, as a child is grieved when he or she disappoints a parent.

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


8. Finally, read Romans 7:25. Where does this sorrow over sin lead Paul? Paul despairs of himself and rests in Christ alone. Godly sorrow over sin does not lead to dejection, defeat, or giving up, but leads us to focus on Christ and HIS faithfulness, sufficiency, and victory in the face of our faithlessness, weakness, and failure. His blood covers our sins, His righteousness covers our shame, and His powerful, resurrected life overcomes death for us. 9. How can Confession and Absolution help us as we struggle with our simultaneous natures of sinner and saint? When we confess our sins to our pastor, we call them what they are. We don’t shy away from them or act as if they don’t exist or matter. We realize that we need a savior. In the Absolution we are forgiven and freed. The forgiveness of Jesus reminds us of our identity in Christ is what matters!

Closing Sing together, “Jesus Sinners Doth Receive,” (LSB 609).

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“Secret Battles and Inner Peace” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY 1. Begin by singing “Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness” (LSB 563).

2. Pastor Goodman’s article lists several excuses to sin made by the Old Adam. “What if it makes me happy? Does that even apply today? Is it really a sin if…? Talk with a partner. Which of these excuses do you struggle most with? Can you think of any other excuses that the Old Adam makes to sin?

3. Read Romans 6:1-11, specifically focusing on verse 11. What is our relationship to sin? When does this new reality start?

4. Take a look at Romans 7:15. What effect does sin have on Paul? How is this similar in us?

5. Read through Romans 7:16-20. Take note of Paul’s personal description of the power of sin. How does he describe sin’s actions within him? Does this absolve him of responsibility of his sin?

6. Move on to Romans 7:21-23. What is Paul’s opinion of God’s law? Where does this come from?

7. Now look at Romans 7:24. Describe the emotion used by Paul here. Have you ever felt this way?

8. Finally, read Romans 7:25. Where does this sorrow over sin lead Paul?

9. How can Confession and Absolution help us as we struggle with our simultaneous natures of sinner and saint?

Closing Sing together, “Jesus Sinners Doth Receive,” (LSB 609).

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“On Being ‘Simul’” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Leader’s Guide 1. What does the author mean by the Latin phrase “simul justus et peccator”? The Latin phrase means that a Christian is at the same time a justified/forgiven saint and a damned sinner. 
 2. Read Romans 7:14-25. What is the apostle’s chief complaint in this section of Scripture? What is his explanation for it? Does St. Paul make excuses for his sins? In the end, from where does he draw his comfort? His chief complaint is that the things he knows are right to do, he can’t do them, and the things he knows are wrong, he continues to do them. His explanation is that it is not he that is doing them, but sin that is living in him. The article uses the metaphor of New Software trying to run on Old Hardware. He doesn’t make excuses for his sin, but is unhappy with himself. He takes comfort in the Lord Jesus Christ, who will rescue him from the body of death. 
 3. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, what part of the Christian does St. Paul say is wasting away? Which part is being renewed? Why is this a comfort to the Christian who struggles with sin? Paul says that his “outer” self or nature is wasting away, and his “inner” self is being renewed day by day. Any Christian who has struggled with sin wonders if there will be an end to it all. And this tells us that we are gradually shedding this old skin, and will finally cast it off completely in death. 
 4. In Luther’s Small Catechism, the part on Baptism, Martin Luther asks “What does such baptizing with water indicate?” According to the Catechism, what is to go on daily in the Christian until death? Baptism with water shows us that our Old Self must daily be crucified and drowned with all evil lusts and desires, and that a new man should daily come forth and arise to live before him in righteousness and purity forever. Daily repentance is what is needed for the Christian. Death and resurrection—begun in baptism, continued throughout life, and completed in the day of resurrection. 
 5. Why, according to the article, is it helpful to distinguish between the “Old you” and the “new you”? Some Christians may think that because they sin they are no longer Christians. They might worry that because they are not completely perfect, they are not loved by God, or that they do not truly believe. This distinction helps because it reminds us that we will still have the remnants of sin in us until we die—not that we should just give sin free rein, but that as long as we continue to cling in faith to Christ and his forgiveness, we will be delivered. 
 6. How does the metaphor of a “virus” help us understand the sin that continues to cause “glitches and crashes” in our Christian life? A virus affects everything in a computer, and so does sin affect everything in the Christian. Even when we try to do good, the virus of sin produces in us evil thoughts and desires, and out of weakness we often act on those sinful thoughts and desires. Baptism covers our sins with Christ’s holy blood, but it doesn’t completely remove them. 


© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


7. Much of modern Christianity is all about “fixing” the sinner, making him better, making him less of a sinner. The article reminds us that the sinner is too far gone to be “fixed.” What must finally happen to the sinner in order for the “new software” to run properly? The sinner, the Old Man, must finally die. The Old Man cannot be fixed, reformed, rehabilitated or anything. It must follow the way of Christ—death, then resurrection. 
 8. What does it mean that even the good works of Christians are still sinful? How can this be? Luther understood something that many today do not: Because the new man must work through the old man, even the good things that come out of us are going to be tainted with sin. Perhaps it comes out like this: We decide we want to help someone out, and then as we are doing it, or afterward, we hope for some kind of pat on the back, some kind of recognition. “Evil lies close at hand.” 
 9. What would you say to a person who said, “Well, I’m a sinner, and I’m always going to be one until I die, so I might as well not fight it”? This person obviously thinks that it is okay to give our sinful nature free rein in our lives. Point such a person to Paul’s words in Romans, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? By no means!” No where does Scripture give the Christian permission to let his old nature rule. 
 10 Using the wisdom of this article, how might you answer someone who said, “What can I do? I just can’t seem to put a stop to my sinful impulses and desires. What is wrong with me? I’m a Christian, so I should be without these struggles, right?” This person obviously is afflicted in his or her conscience. It’s the scenario of Romans 7 all over again. “What’s wrong with me?” A Christian can answer: what is wrong is that you have a virus of sin that still is producing in you evil thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. It is not you, but sin living in you. There is a part of you, the new self, that truly delights in God’s law, that wants to do what is pleasing to him. But your old skin does not always allow you to do it as you know you ought. This is why Christ has come, and why he continues to say to you: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Christ will one day rescue you from this body of death. 
 11. Why does the Christian look forward to the resurrection of the body? What does Scripture promise concerning the body of sin? (See 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and Philippians 3:20-21.) On the day of resurrection, Christ will raise all the dead, and he will give unto “me and all believers in Christ eternal life.” Paul reminds us that the perishable body will put on the imperishable. When we rise from the dead, our bodies will be “like his glorious body.” No longer will they be infected by sin.

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019


“On Being ‘Simul’” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY 1. What does the author mean by the Latin phrase “simul justus et peccator”? 2. Read Romans 7:14-25. What is the apostle’s chief complaint in this section of Scripture? What is his explanation for it? Does St. Paul make excuses for his sins? In the end, from where does he draw his comfort? 3. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, what part of the Christian does St. Paul say is wasting away? Which part is being renewed? Why is this a comfort to the Christian who struggles with sin? 4. In Luther’s Small Catechism, the part on Baptism, Martin Luther asks “What does such baptizing with water indicate?” According to the Catechism, what is to go on daily in the Christian until death? 5. Why, according to the article, is it helpful to distinguish between the “Old you” and the “new you”? 6. How does the metaphor of a “virus” help us understand the sin that continues to cause “glitches and crashes” in our Christian life? 7. Much of modern Christianity is all about “fixing” the sinner, making him better, making him less of a sinner. The article reminds us that the sinner is too far gone to be “fixed.” What must finally happen to the sinner in order for the “new software” to run properly? 8. What does it mean that even the good works of Christians are still sinful? How can this be? 9. What would you say to a person who said, “Well, I’m a sinner, and I’m always going to be one until I die, so I might as well not fight it”? 10 Using the wisdom of this article, how might you answer someone who said, “What can I do? I just can’t seem to put a stop to my sinful impulses and desires. What is wrong with me? I’m a Christian, so I should be without these struggles, right?” 11. Why does the Christian look forward to the resurrection of the body? What does Scripture promise concerning the body of sin? (See 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and Philippians 3:20-21.)

© 2019 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Spring 2019

Profile for Higher Things: Dare to be Lutheran!

2019 Spring - Higher Things Magazine (with Bible Studies)