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Concerning Original Sin – part 11
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

May 15, 2021

1 Corinthians 2:14–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin 

These views also agree with Scripture. Paul sometimes expressly regards it as a defect. “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1Cor 2:14). Elsewhere, he sees concupiscence “at work in our members to bear fruit for death” (Rom 7:5). We could cite more passages relating to both parts of our definition but the matter is so obvious that there is no need of further evidence. Besides, the intelligent reader will be able to easily determine that being without the fear of God and without faith are more than actual guilt. They are abiding defects in our unrevived nature.

Pulling It Together

We too often consider sin something we do. It is more than what we do; sin is the reason we do the things we know to be sinful. We sin because we are full of sin. This is what Charles Wesley referred to in his hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” when he wrote, “I am all unrighteousness.” The doctrine of original sin points out both the defect in and the very inclination of our nature. The doctrine does not state that we are born sinning but that we are born in sin (Psa 51:5). It does not take us long to get around to sinning but this is not what the doctrine teaches is wrong with us even at birth. As such, the doctrine also instructs us why everyone sins and so, why everyone is in need of the Savior. Borrowing from Wesley's hymn again: In God there is plenteous grace to be found—grace to cover all our sin. Our helpless souls hang on God alone for help. He is not only willing to save us; he has saved us entirely and renewed our minds, our natures. We are now capable to both love God and desire the good.

Prayer: Revive and enlighten my mind today so that I may love you with a thankful heart. Amen. 

Connections Magazine features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism provides the inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design.

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