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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Original Sin – part 9

Ephesians 4:20–24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin 

This is the substance of the definition found in the writings of Augustine, who usually defines original sin as concupiscence. He means that concupiscence replaced the loss of righteousness. Because our diseased nature cannot fear and love God and believe in God, it seeks and loves carnal things instead. It either scorns God's judgment when self-satisfied, or hates it when terrified. So, Augustine includes both the defect and the grievous habit that takes the place of righteousness. However, concupiscence is not only a physical corruption, but also an evil turning with the higher powers toward carnal things. Those who ascribe to the human condition a concupiscence that is not entirely destroyed by the Holy Spirit and simultaneously, a love for God above all things do not comprehend what they are claiming.

Pulling It Together: The original sinful nature that we are all born with must be drowned in baptism (Rom 6:3). Thereafter, since the flesh is so comfortable in its old clothing, there must follow a daily and even a continual putting off of that old self. We must put on the new self that is created in the image or likeness of God. The new self of the inner person, not that old person you are on the outside, is being renewed each day (2 Cor 4:16). Through faith, we put off the old and put on the new, reminded by the Holy Spirit of what happened in baptism. This renewal of the mind stands in stark contrast to the way we once lived. Now, instead of evil desires, we have a hunger and thirst for righteousness that is satisfied in Christ (Matt 5:6). As long as we are in this flesh, we are not yet perfect (Phil 3:12). So, we must constantly renew our minds through faith. That we even have this new desire, is an indication that the Spirit of God is at work within us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, remind me to rely upon your righteousness as I strive to live today in a newness of life. Amen. 

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