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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Repentance part 57

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1 Thessalonians 2:13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

Let us not hesitate then, to use this declaration of Peter that cites the consensus of the prophets, and rebuts ever so many legions of commentators on the Sentences. The testimony of the Holy Spirit is added to this utterance of Peter. For the text says, “While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word” (Acts 10:44). Therefore, let pious consciences know that God commands them to believe that they are freely forgiven for Christ’s sake, and not for the sake of their works. Furthermore, let them sustain themselves with this command of God against despair and against the terrors of sin and of death.

Pulling It Together

We must be sure to believe in the word of God, not the words of men. The testimony of men reasons that we must do good things to appease an angry God. The word of God, however, tells us that we are freely forgiven by the God who loved us so much that he sent his only Son to save a world of lost sinners. This justification of sinners is done for Christ’s sake, not because of any supposed goodness of our own (Isa 64:6). We are made righteousness by Christ, not by religion.

Therefore we must also be sure to believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in us through the word that we believe. Do not despair. Though you are not the kind of person you want to be (Phil 3:12), press on in faith. The Spirit of Christ is at work in you, sinner, fitting you for the kingdom in spite of yourself. 

Prayer: Help me, O God, to confess my faith in you, through Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen. 

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