Preach Them into Hell Before You Preach Them Into Heaven!

runnersI see preachers kneeling in the starting blocks preparing for a mad dash.   Get ready, get set,…”  Here are some timely words from C.F.W. Walther, a seasoned preaching practitioner, as you prepare to undertake the Holy Week preaching task!

We must preach them [i.e. secure sinners] into hell before we can preach them into heaven.  By our preaching our hearers must be brought to the point of death before they can be restored to life by the Gospel.  They must be made to realize that they are sick unto death before they can be restored to health by the Gospel. First their own righteousness must be laid bare to them, so that they may see of what filthy rags it consists, and then,  by the preaching of the Gospel, they are to be robed in the garment of the righteousness of Christ. They must first be induced to say from the heart, ‘I, a lost and condemned creature,’ in order that they be induced, next, to exclaim joyfully: ‘Oh, blessed man that I am!’ They must first be reduced to nothing by the Law in order that they may be made to be something, to the praise of the glory of God, by the Gospel.

Now … “Go!”

From: C.F.W. Walther, God’s No and God’s Yes: The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel (The  Condensed Version by Walter C. Pieper) St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1973, p. 40)

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