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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
We are reborn and receive the Holy Spirit for the very end that the new life may produce new works, new dispositions, the fear and love of God, hatred of lust, and so forth. This faith we speak of arises in repentance, and ought to become deep-rooted and grow in the midst of good works, temptations, and dangers, so that we may be more and more firmly persuaded that God for Christ's sake cares for us, forgives us, hears us. This is not learned without many great struggles. How often conscience is aroused and provokes us to despair when it displays our sins, either old or new, or the impurity of our nature! This handwriting is not blotted out without a great struggle, in which experience testifies what a difficult matter faith is.
Pulling It Together: We should recognize in ourselves that we are disposed to fall back into old ways. But we should also consider that others are just like us. They, like we, need encouragement to live the life of faith. As the great Day of Christ’s return draws ever nearer, we should promote love and good works in others. People get worn out from their vocations, their everyday lives, and even the troubles of the church. It should not be a surprise to us that many people even need encouragement to be in worship. The temptation to forsake the assembly is ever-present, and for many has become a habit. But how else will they be lifted above the troubles and temptations of this life unless they draw near to God with faith to receive his Word and Sacraments? How else will they be excited to love and good works unless they gather with a room full of sinners and see that faith is alive in people just like themselves?
Prayer: Lord, lift me when I fall, so that I might encourage someone’s faith today. Amen.
The goal of Personalities of Faith, a ten-session Bible study for youth, is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith". Using biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.