From the Reformer
The Third Article: On Becoming Holy
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the community of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and an everlasting life. Amen.
Q. What does this mean?
A. I believe that I cannot come to my Lord Jesus Christ by my own intelligence or power. But the Holy Spirit called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as He calls, gathers together, enlightens and makes holy the whole Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one, true faith. In this Church, He generously forgives each day every sin committed by me and by every believer. On the last day, He will raise me and all the dead from the grave. He will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ.
—Martin Luther, The Small Catechism
Pulling It Together
Too often the Spirit is viewed as a tool or power. In fact, many believers refer to the Holy Spirit as an “it.” This is far from the truth. The Spirit is God. God is not to be manipulated nor can he be used. The Spirit dictates and you respond—not the other way round. He calls you, keeps you, comforts you, and completes you. People of the Spirit are only too happy to positively respond to him when he urges in whatever direction. This is nowhere more so than when he leads you to absolution, causing you to remember the words of Jesus: “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48).
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