From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
Concerning the False Repentance of the Papists
It was impossible for them to teach correctly about repentance because they did not know the real sin. For, as shown above, they did not rightly believe the doctrine of original sin, but insisted that people’s natural powers have remained unimpaired and incorrupt—that reason is able to rightly understand, that the will is able to act accordingly, and that God undoubtedly bestows his grace to people when they do as much as possible with their free will.
Pulling It Together
Simply put: if you are acting in your own power, relying upon yourself to be a good person, you are sunk. From the moment you were born, you have never been good enough—if that were what was necessary—to merit eternal life. You have always been a sinner (Rom 5:19). From the outset, all you have ever cared about is yourself. What will you eat next? What will you wear? These are the ultimate concerns of human nature: that “old man” (Col 3:9).
The new person is not bent upon self, but instead, inclined to the things of God and his kingdom. The old self is dead from the get-go, while the new self is always being renewed in God. It does not look to its own will but to God’s will (Matt 6:10). The regenerated person does not depend upon its own filthy righteousness (Isa 64:6) but upon the righteousness of God. The Lord alone is our righteousness (Jer 23:6) and this only comes to us through faith in God’s Christ (Eph 2:8-9; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21), not by the work of the human will.
Prayer: Thy will be done. Amen.
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The Lord's Prayer is a seven lesson curriculum based around Luther's Small Catechism. Each lesson has a Bible study connected to the article of the Lord's Prayer covered. A section entitled "About Prayer" teaches students helpful items about a solid prayer life and a prayer assignment for the coming week. A major goal of this material is to help kids experience prayer and practice it in a variety of ways. This book could be used as part of a larger Confirmation series, or as a "pre-confirmation" Sunday School series for Jr. High and Middle School youth.