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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 66

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Matthew 16:17

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This hereditary sin is so deep a corruption of nature that it cannot be understand with reason. It must be believed from the revelation of the Scriptures (Psa 51:5; Rom 6:12ff; Exod 33:3; Gen 3:7ff).

Pulling It Together

The kingdom of God cannot be stormed by reason. Human reason is strong but it cannot bring itself to believe in the unseen, the unprovable. Moreover, human nature is blind to itself. A man may eventually yield to his own wrongdoing because of its sheer repetition, but then say, It wasn’t so bad, or Who did it harm? Or perhaps he does not even view his offenses as sin. He is merely trying to relieve his guilt when he proclaims, Sin is just a construct of religion. Reason brings us all to this terrible place. It locks the door on this self-centered prison where guilt festers and the lies are multiplied. Only God is able to break us free.

By God’s grace alone, we are enabled to come out of our cells and into the light. His grace provides us with the faith necessary to believe the unbelievable. And what is more unbelievable than that sinners like us may be forgiven, made righteous, and be loved by the Father of lights (James 1:17)? Such faith is the foundation of the Father’s family.

Prayer: Give me faith, Lord, by your Word. Amen.

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Where Two or Three Are Gathered is a guide for what Luther referred to as "mutual conversation and consolation" among believers. These are the times we come together one to one, as people of faith, to talk about our lives and struggles, and strengthen one another in prayer with the promise of God's grace and mercy. This devotional conversation guide may be used for a number of purposes and applications where people are looking for some help in structuring conversations on the practical and spiritual dimensions of Christian discipleship.


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