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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
While we are being encouraged and comforted in the midst of terrors, other spiritual inclinations increase: hope and the knowledge, fear, and love of God. We are renewed, as Paul says, in the knowledge of God (Col 3:10) and, “beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness” (2 Cor 3:18). That is, we receive the true knowledge of God, so that we truly fear him, truly trust that he cares for us, and that we are heard by him.
Pulling It Together
What will be the result in the future life for the way we have lived the present life? Left on our own, sin and death are terrifying. Without the comfort and encouragement of God’s word, all one may do is worry, fear, despair, or try to dismiss the thought. Even Christians wrestle with these thoughts. When we sin against God “in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone,” we might worry sometimes that we have pushed God too far this time. When have not loved God “with our whole heart,” we can be tempted to wonder if he really loves us. When we “have not loved our neighbors as ourselves,” we can question whether God hears our prayers.
Through such tests of faith, we grow in faith. In fear of God, we face our sins. Confessing our sins, we find that God does indeed love and forgive us. So, our hope is emboldened, and the knowledge of God’s true nature increases. Beholding this glorious nature of God, we begin to shine a bit more, as Moses did when he came down from Mt. Sinai (Exod 34:29). God slowly transforms us until finally, on that great Day, he will complete in us the work that he has begun (Phil 1:6).
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for loving me, through Jesus Christ, your Son and my Lord. Amen.
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