Bayern, USA, Deutschland

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Justification through faith

Posted below is the initial translation I have recently undertaken. I am working through Francis Peiper's Christian Dogmatics, Vol. 2, which is the second volume of a three volume set of systematic textbooks used at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Pieper's original volumes were in German and used extensively, but as the seminary transitioned from German to English as the primary language, an English translation was needed. Work began in 1944 as Dr. Theodore Engelder began the daunting task of translation. Engelder died before he completed his work, but others finished the portions remaining in Volume 2 and a completed English translation of all three volumes was available by 1951. 

In search of a new German translation project, I decided to tackle Pieper's Dogmatics. We were always told that various paragraphs were not translated but summarized by combining them together. So it will be interesting to learn if this is indeed the case and, if so,  how much was paraphrased rather than translated. I have noted already in the three pages undertaken that Engelder did paraphrase together sentences to make the paragraphs shorter. 

Pieper's Dogmatics has copious footnotes (page 606 begins with footnote 1404!). I have omitted the footnotes for the blog post (which makes the pages seem rather short, but many times the footnotes take up half of the page in Pieper's volumes), I have translated most of his Latin phrases into English (I kept the Latin phrases intact where they are used as the Latin translation for Pieper's German phrases) and I also numbered the paragraphs (which were not numbered in the original or the translation) as I find it makes referencing easier in papers and essays.



Justification through faith. 
concerning justification
1. Justification is accomplished through faith, without the works of the law. 

1. At the very moment in which a person believes in Christ or in the gospel, that is, in the acquired Christ and proffered in the gospel forgiveness of sins, that believer is justified by that faith before God. This is the so-called subjective justification, as distinguished from the so-called objective justification that exists for the faith. Concerning the relationship between objective and subjective justification is later pointed out. From the subjective justification that occurs through faith, as Romans 3,28 says: »For we hold that man is justified by faith.« But Scripture is not satisfied arbitrarily to say that we are justified „by faith“, because this Divine method of justification well contradicts human intuition that looks and expects a justification by the works according to their natural terms of religion —, so the Scriptures are zealous to hone that every work of the law is completely excluded from justification. Romans 3,28: »For we hold that man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.« Galatians 2,16: »yet we know that man is not justified by works of the law.« Namely, every form of human works are excluded form of the justification. Excluded are 1. all external good works that people do and those done before faith such as the works of the Pharisees; 2. all spiritual good works  


flowing from faith, such as the works of faithful Abraham. Scripture also indicates reasons why God chose this strange manner of justification, namely He has completely detached justification from the law and the works of the law. God has chosen this method of justification: 1. thus giving people the certainty of the forgiveness of sins and salvation; 2. so that the object of human boasting is not man himself, but is God’s entirely unmerited grace in Christ. 
2. It is useful that we remain aware of what confronts us in the Scriptural doctrine of the justification through faith, namely, that it is a wonderful method of justification by faith. We may easily lose sight of its wonderful character, so that it fades into the background, because we’ve heard about justification by faith from our youth. But Luther was right when he says: „It’s a great thing that I should grasp and believe with the heart that all my sins are forgiven, and that through such faith 


I am righteous before God. That is certainly a wondrous justice and it is different from the justice found among all the intelligent and wise lawyers in this world (St. Louis XIII,2495). But a requirement for this „wondrous righteousness“ by faith is the „wondrous“ fact, that God reconciles all people unto Himself through Christ’s vicarious satisfaction, that is, in His heart He has forgiven their sins and this forgiveness or justification in the word of the gospel. This is to constantly point out the further exposition of the Biblical doctrine of justification. 
3. In the Scriptural proclamation of Romans 3,28: »one is justified by faith apart from the works of the law« is the article or clause through which the orthodox Church refutes the various errors over time that attempt to redefine the Christian doctrine of justification. Justification is „by faith without the deeds of the law“, and it is not based upon the „infused grace“ (gratia infusa), but is based upon the „gracious disposition of God in Christ“ (gratuitus Dei favor propter Christ), it cannot be found in man, but is found outside of man, namely, in the objective word of the Gospel (the means of grace are the means of justification), thus it is the act is not medicinal, but forensic, that is, one who is in himself unrighteous is declared righteous so it has no grace (does not allow fluctuations), as justification occurs by faith alone, and thus faith in justification can only be construed instrumental, not as a moral achievement, an ethical principle, etc., it is not a subject of conjecture (certainly is conjectural of the Romans), but the poor sinner is certain because it is precisely by faith in the gospel and completely separate from the law and its works occurs. All these clauses are articles, as I said, are already contained in substance in Romans 3,28: »by faith apart from the works of the law.« As we discuss each of the following particulars in more or less detail, we see the contrast to the various errors that confront the central article from outside the Christian faith. Also, we must never forget that we still bear our flesh,


with the opinion of the law, that is, we are afflicted with a tendency to believe that justification is by the works of the law. 
4 The 4. Article of the Augsburg Confession contains a simple but comprehensive description of justification: „Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight, as St. Paul says in Romans 3 and 4.“ 


Unknown said...

The "proffered in the gospel forgiveness of sins" still sounds very German! Perhaps "forgiveness of sins proffered in the Gospel"?

Unknown said...
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Peter said...

Thanks, Unknown, I didn't catch that odd wording when editing my translation.

Peter said...

In the first sentence of paragraph 1, I have replaced the phrase: "in the acquired Christ and proffered in the gospel forgiveness of sins, that believer is justified by that faith before God" with something that sounds better in English: "the gospel presents the forgiveness of sins that have been achieved by Christ, namely, that the believer is justified by that faith before God".