From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
Part III, Article III. Of Repentance
The New Testament maintains and teaches this function of the law, as St. Paul does, saying: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men” (Rom 1:18). Again, “that…the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no human being will be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:19). And Christ says that the Holy Spirit “will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
Pulling It Together
The law’s job is to reveal sin and the wrath of God, and to convict the world of its unrighteousness and the judgment to come. That office is not closed. People still need to know about sin and judgment. The grace of God is not welcome without a keen conviction of unrighteousness. Indeed, the Holy Spirit uses the law for this very purpose.
Some people claim innocence, and some that there is no divine law to be kept. Their sin and ignorance will find them in the end. May it find them sooner, so that each may confess with the tax man, I am a sinner! For that revelation is part of God’s mercy and the beginning of a flow of grace.
Prayer: God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner! Amen.
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