1 John 1:5–10
From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
Accordingly, it is necessary to know and to teach that when holy people who still have and feel original sin, and who also daily repent of and strive with sin, happen to fall into obvious sins—as David into adultery, murder, and blasphemy—faith and the Holy Spirit have departed from them. The Holy Spirit does not allow sin to rule and gain the upper hand so that it is accomplished, but represses and restrains it so that it does not do what it desires. But if it does what it wishes, the Holy Spirit and faith are not present. For St. John says, “No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). Yet, it is also the truth when the same St. John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Pulling It Together: You now see why repentance is so necessary in the Christian life. In order for faith to remain, the Spirit must be within us. The Spirit does not continue where sin is present, where unrighteousness is permitted to remain and dwell. So, it is important that we face and confess our sins in order that the promise may be received: that God may cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is an ongoing process in the lives of all saints and sinners.
Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord, that I may always believe you love and forgive sinners like me. Amen.
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