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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 107

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1 John 2:1–2

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

On the other hand, certain fanatics may arise (some being already present, as came to view at the time of the uprising), believing that everyone who has received the Spirit or the forgiveness of sins, or had once become believers, still remain in the faith even though they afterwards sin. They claim these sins will not harm them. They bellow: Do whatever you please. If you believe, it all amounts to nothing; faith blots out all sins, and so forth. Besides this they say that if people sin after receiving faith and the Spirit, they never really had the Spirit and faith. I have run into many of these insane people, and I fear that such a devil is still dwelling in some of them.

Pulling It Together: True Christians always feel the sin within them—that which they were born with and that which they commit. They must therefore, repent daily. We should not deliberately and arrogantly sin, allowing ourselves the notion that in doing so, God’s grace will be poured out on us all the more (Rom 6:1–2). Still, when we do sin, we must call it what it is: sin, a trespass against God. We should then, confess it as real sin and give thanks that we have a righteous defender in the court of heaven. Christ himself makes the legal argument and begs his Father’s forgiveness of our sins. His evidence for our forgiveness does not point to our innocence or good deeds or religious behavior. Instead, all evidence points to the cross, and that his righteousness blots out the sin of all who believe.

Prayer: Help me, Father, keep your commandments and when I do not, to trust in your mercy for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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