We are reliving perhaps 1521 when Melanchthon wrote:
“Notwithstanding the variety of its forms, the sin of Israel is all of a piece. From comparatively small beginnings it advances step by step to its utmost height. From the most innocent forms, in which it still has a pleasing aspect, sin goes on growing till it openly boasts of its devilish hostility to God. It commences with sinful feelings in the heart, which even the good and pious still experience (e.g. Ps. 73:2; Prov. 4:23 ff.); with the sins of youth which are chargeable to human frailty—for ‘stolen waters are sweet’ (Job 13:26; Pss. 25:7; 19:13; Prov. 9:17). It commences with that rather innocent ignorance which God is still able to excuse. ‘They are foolish, and know not what is right’ (Pss. 19:13; 90:8; cf. Jer. 5:4). There is a sinful state in which the sinner still feels his sin a burden, a misery from which he seeks restoration and deliverance (Ps. 51:5; Prov. 9:4). But out of this rather animal state of nature, sin does its best to grow. It keeps firm hold of the will, until it ceases to struggle. It saturates with its poison the innermost parts of the Ego. It turns sinners into enemies of God, men who do evil habitually, and who yield themselves up wholly, with all their personal faculties and gifts (Pss. 6:9; 14:4; 37:1–7), as instruments of evil (Ps. 37:20; Deut. 5:9).
The highest stage of sin is likewise shown by the shamelessness with which it flaunts itself openly. The fool, the scorner, despises rebuke; correction only makes him worse (Prov. 1:7; 9:7 ff.), he knoweth not shame (Zeph. 3:5). The boldness of its countenance testifies against God’s people when, like Sodom, it openly proclaims its sin (Isa. 3:9; Hosea 5:5; Jer. 3:3; 6:15; 7:12). This is shown in wanton disregard of a neighbor’s interests, when one considers everything allowable that one has the power to do (Micah 2:1). But the most terrible display of the real nature of sin is when a man delights in evil because it is evil, and loathes good because it is good (Micah 3:2, 9; Ps. 52:5). Then bitter is called sweet, and darkness light (Isa. 5:20; Amos 6:12; cf. Matt. 12:31). Then whosoever eschews evil is declared an outlaw (Isa. 5:15; cf. Prov. 29:27). Then men hate light and truth (Job 24:13), and rejoice over the misfortune of a neighbor (Ps. 35:11 ff.; 41:6 ff.). Nay more, they have no longer even the natural instinct of a brute beast for what is wholesome and good. They seek after their own hurt (Isa. 1:2 ff.; Jer. 8:4 ff.).
At this stage, when a man takes delight in doing mischief, and cannot rest without doing it, when he is wise to do evil and ‘exults the more, the greater the evil is’ (Prov. 2:14; 4:16; Jer. 4:22; cf. Isa. 29:20), he is of course irretrievably lost. When one has grieved God’s Holy Spirit (Isa. 63:10; 65:3), has, as it were, bidden God adieu (Job 1:11; 2:5, 9; 12:6; Ps. 10:3), the heart has then become insensible to every saving influence. Then it has to be said: ‘As the Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his spots, so this people cannot do good, because it is accustomed to do evil’ (Jer. 13:23; cf. 4:22; 7:24 ff.; 9:2, 4; Isa. 6). The soul of the wicked desires evil; he makes a jest of infamy (Prov. 8:23; 21:10; cf. Ps. 11:5).”
Quoted in Robert Culver, “Systematic Theology”, 347.
“The work of the pulpit is to explain to people that the triune God has no needs, least of all a need for the love of his creatures. God is love, and so the Trinity is love—love expressed, received, and delighted in among three persons. The preacher must tell his hearers that God doesn’t need any of us, though we assume he does. Instead, the gospel is love, offered to all who seek the embrace of the ever-loving and already-loving God.
The preacher must teach people of God so that they can worship him with all their might. He must preach God so that they learn to adore the God who loves lost people because he chooses to, with no compulsion whatsoever, except the compulsion of the overflowing love of the Trinity. To know this God in his love in Christ is eternal life. The preacher’s task is to show them nothing less. Sunday by Sunday, our work must show our hearers that God is the one who lives, rules, loves, and speaks, all to his own glory.
We should never be so foolish as to wonder whether we should preach the gospel or instead teach the Trinity. The God of the gospel is the Trinity. The gospel message is a call to know God in his triune love, both now by faith and one day in eternity with sight and unbreakable joy. God has given the light of the knowledge of his triune glory in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Preach the gospel, and you are preaching Trinity love..
He is glorious. This is the God the Scriptures declare to us (and sing of to us, warn us about, and command us to come to, and urge us to delight in). There can never be a greater hope for the world than to know this God. He is waiting for us.”
Allen, Lewis. The Preacher’s Catechism, 37, 38)