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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Original Sin – part 17

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1 Peter 3:14–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin 

We think that this will satisfy His Imperial Majesty concerning the puerile and trivial sophistry used by our adversaries to pervert this article. For we know that we rightly believe and are in concord with Christ's catholic church. If the adversaries will renew this controversy, there will be no lack among us of those who will reply, defending the truth. For on this subject there are a great many times when our adversaries do not understand what they say. They often contradict themselves and do not explain correctly and logically that which is essential to original sin, or what they call defects. At this point, we have been disinclined to analyze their arguments with overly much refinement. Instead, we thought it worthwhile only to note with conventional and familiar words the belief of the holy Fathers, which we also follow.

Pulling It Together

Melancthon cut to the heart of the issue in this closing paragraph of his article defending the doctrine of original sin. The issue was truth. The Lutherans were convinced that they correctly believed. They had good reasons to believe this since both Scripture and the Church Fathers supported their position. With this in mind, Melancthon made it clear that there would be many who would defend the truth of what original sin is, if their opponents pressed the issue. This was an important matter of faith, needing a fearless defense. For if people do not understand their depraved and damnable nature how will they understand the hope that God offers in Christ? They must first become aware of human unrighteousness, that all fall short of God's glory (Rom 3:23). Furthermore, they must know that no one will be justified by doing works of the law (Rom 3:20; Psa 14:1; Eccles 7:20). Only then, may the righteousness of God be given through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 3:22). This is foundational. It is no wonder that the Lutherans defended the doctrine of original sin at length.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for ascribing your perfect righteousness to me, an undeserving sinner from my birth. Amen. 

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