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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 94

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1 John 1:9

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Nevertheless, confidence was placed in our works of satisfaction. If the satisfaction could have been perfect, entire confidence would have been placed in it, and neither faith nor Christ would have been of any worth. But such confidence was impossible. For, even if one had done penance in this way for a hundred years, it would still be unknown whether that penance had been enough. This means forever performing penance yet never coming to repentance.

Pulling It Together: There is only one way to know you are forgiven. Believe the word of God. Has he promised to forgive us? Yes. Has he assured us that he will cleanse us from all unrighteousness? Yes. This does not mean that he will cleanse us a little bit, or that there are certain kinds of sins that will remain outside his power or will. God cleanses sinners who confess they are sinners. Period. Have you done something that you knew you should not have done? Have you said something that you knew should have remained unspoken? Have you thought about something that you should have put out of your mind right away? Of course, you have done all these things because you are a sinner. God will forgive you of these sins whether you meant to commit them or not. Indeed, he will forgive your very nature—your sinful nature, O child of Adam. Why will he do this? Because he has promised to do so, for Christ’s sake, not because you have done something to work off your sin. He forgives you, plainly and simply, because of Christ Jesus. 

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord God, a sinner redeemed by your Son. Amen.

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Not My Will, But Yours: A Bible Study on the Bound Will explores the theme of human bondage seen throughout Scripture. From the Old Testament examples of people held in slavery whom God came to set free, to the New Testament examples of Jesus healing illnesses and casting out demons, we witness the Lord’s power of deliverance. Ultimately, all these stories point to the greatest act of God’s redemption in the cross, where Christ rescued us from our captivity to the powers of sin, death, and the devil.

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