From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
The whole Church throughout Europe knows that consciences have been ensnared by this point of the regulation that commands that all sins be confessed. The text itself is less disadvantageous than what the Summists added later, who even collected the particulars of the sins. What labyrinths and great tortures for the best minds! Yet, the licentious and profane were in no way moved by these instruments of terror.
Pulling It Together
Luther writes in The Bondage of the Will, “But when the works and power of God are unknown, I do not know God himself, and when God is unknown, I cannot worship, praise, thank, and serve God, since I do not know how much I ought to attribute to myself and how much to God. It therefore behooves us to be very certain about the distinction between God’s power and our own, God’s work and our own, if we want to live a godly life.”
The imposition of rules and regulations will change no heart. The Holy Spirit changes hearts by drawing people near to the crucified Christ (John 12:32). It is God who calls us to himself. Just as surely, instead of acknowledging God, the impious and debased, moved only by their desires, are eventually delivered over completely to their depravity (Rom 1:28). They will be moved more and more toward self and sin, by self and Satan. But they will never be moved to love God because of Church regulations.
Prayer: Draw me nearer to you, blessed Lord. Amen.
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