Another book I am working on finishing before the end of the summer is David P. Scaer’s latest in the Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics Series: Law and Gospel and the Means of Grace. Typical of Scaer’s writings, just about every sentence is quotable. What would take me a page to explain or express takes Scaer about 3 sentences, and he can say more in those three sentences than I can in a whole page. Having said that, I find particularly delightful his explanation of the Lutheran “difference” on the term grace. Grace, for Lutherans, is not a substance, but a disposition, an attitude. It is not a noun, but an adverb, describing God’s actions toward the world in Christ. This is really one of the major differences between Lutherans and Roman Catholics, and I would surmise also the Eastern Orthodox brethren. Here, I think Scaer is helpful:
Grace reflects a change in God’s relationship to the world. What was once condemned in Adam is now accepted by God in Christ. Justification is as universal as the atonement in which Christ became a sacrifice for all sins. It embraces everyone (objective justification). Christ “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25). God embraces a world once estranged from Him, and through the means of grace Christ’s death and resurrection and the sinner’s justification become realities for the sinner (subjective justification).
Some people have a problem thinking there being a change in God, but I think the way Scaer puts it is more helpful even than that terminology. It is not so much a change in God, but a change in how God views the world, a change in his relationship to the world. Scaer also has some great stuff about the relationship between the means of grace and Law and Gospel, which I won’t post on now, but maybe later.