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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Original Sin
Therefore, we do not handle original sin any differently than Scripture or the Church catholic. We have cleansed from corruptions and restored to light the most important declarations of Scripture and of the Fathers that had been obscured by the sophistical disputes of modern theologians. For it is clear from the subject itself that modern theologians have not noticed what the Fathers meant when they spoke of this defect. Knowledge of original sin is necessary because the magnitude of the grace of Christ cannot be understood unless our sickness is recognized. The entire righteousness of humans is absolute hypocrisy before God unless we acknowledge that our heart is naturally destitute of love, fear, and confidence in God. For this reason the prophet says, “For after I had turned away I repented; and after I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh” (Jer 31:19). Likewise, “I said in my haste, all men are liars,” that is, not thinking correctly concerning God (Psa 116:11).
Pulling It Together: This lengthy response to the confutation (and there is a good deal yet to go) is all to show that the Lutherans taught the same thing about original sin as the Scripture and the Church. Yet they wanted to be specific about what the lack of original righteousness means, since it become more a matter of academic debate than something readily understood in the churches. This special treatment was necessary not only as an answer to their adversaries. They taught the same thing in the Lutheran churches so that their people could truly know their need of and have a desire for Christ. The inexpressibly great treasure of divine favor and grace that the gospel offers is lost to people who do not comprehend their need of God. As Christ says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician” (Matt 9:12; Mark 2:17). We must first understand that we are all miserable sinners who are in a state of disgrace with God. The Spirit will not force someone to drink who believes there is no thirst. Thanks be to God that when the need is appreciated and grace is believed, there is nothing for us to do but drink deeply and call upon the name of the Lord.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for doing everything necessary to save me from my original nature. Amen.
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