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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law part 129

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2 Corinthians 5:1-7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

This rebirth is, as it were, the beginning of eternal life, as Paul says, “But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness” (Rom 8:10). “Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, so that by putting it on we may not be found naked” (2 Cor 5:2-3). The sincere reader can judge from these statements that we certainly require good works, since we teach that this faith arises in repentance, and in repentance ought continually to increase. If repentance and faith grow together in repentance, there is Christian and spiritual perfection. God-fearing people are better able to understood this teaching than those things taught by the adversaries concerning contemplation or perfection.

Pulling It Together

We are reborn with a purpose. But let us be clear; the purpose does not precede or cause rebirth. That purpose is the result of our being newly created (2 Cor 5:17), for we are “created in Christ for good works” (Eph 2:10). However, draped in these coats of flesh, it is difficult for us to perfectly walk in God’s ways. Therefore, we groan while we are still burdened by the flesh. We want to be clothed in Christ, with his perfection. So, we repent of our deeds of the flesh and begin to do works of righteousness. This process progresses with many sighs and groans until God finishes what he began (Phil 1:6). Yet, we never trust in these good works, as though they make us perfect. We live by faith, trusting in Christ, not in works of the flesh.

Prayer: Help me to never give up, Lord, and to always trust in you. Amen. 

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