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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles part 69

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Romans 3:21–22 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

3. Again, that people are able by their natural powers to observe and keep all the commandments of God.

4. Again, that by their natural powers, people are able to love God above all things and their neighbors as themselves.

5. Again, if people do as much as they can, God will certainly grant them his grace.

Pulling It Together

We have already seen how human nature is not equal to the task. But even if some person is able to live a perfectly sinless life, that person was born into sin (original sin), and so, remains a sinner. No one is exempt (Rom 3:23). Moreover, the ability to be sinless — which again, no one has — is not a virtue that earns them favor with God. There is no such human virtue. There is nothing in human nature, abilities, intentions, or accomplishments that moves God to grant people his grace. It is his love for humanity that moves him to freely offer his grace, yet also justly so, forgiving and making righteous those who have faith in Christ (Rom 3:26).

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, for I am a sinner. Amen.

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