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From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
The New Testament immediately adds the consoling promise of grace through the gospel to the function of the law. This must be believed, as Christ declares: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). That is, become different, do otherwise, and believe my promise.
Pulling It Together
It is no accident that the gospels follow directly after the Old Testament. The offer of God’s grace must always follow on the teaching of the law. Wherever the law is taught, accusations and guilt will follow. If left there, people will wallow in despair. So, the gospel, God’s promise of grace and forgiveness through Christ, must follow. That grace is received by turning to God in confession and repentance. You may not become a pious person as soon as you would have liked—or ever—but you are now changed because you admit God’s Word is true, that you are a sinner in need of the Savior. And that is the truest piety.
Prayer: Forgive me, Lord God, a sinner redeemed by Christ. Amen.
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The Letters of Paul looks at all but one of Paul's thirteen epistles and seeks to get at the heart of each one so that his message can inspire new hope, faith, and love in us today.