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Romans 6:2–4, 11
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
When describing conversion or renewal, Paul almost everywhere assigns these two parts: mortification and quickening, as in Colossians: “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh.” Then, “in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God” (Col 2:11–12). There are two parts here. One is putting off the body of sins; the other is being raised through faith. These words, mortification, quickening, putting off the body of sins, raised, are not to be understood in a Platonic way, concerning a feigned change. Mortification means true terrors, like those of the dying, which nature could not suffer unless it were supported by faith.
Pulling It Together: Paul speaks plainly about these two parts of repentance. He writes that we are dead to sin, this taking place through our baptism. Then, even though we are sorry for our sin, we know that we are forgiven and shall rise again with Christ. Through this faith, we obtain consolation and life over and over again. For according to Paul, faith in Christ is meant to bring consolation and peace to troubled consciences. “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). Since, being justified by faith, we have peace, it follows that there is first terror and anxiety in the conscience. Thus, we confess that contrition and faith must go side by side.
Prayer: Help me believe, Lord, that I am dead to sin, through my baptism into Christ’s death. Amen.
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The newest volume in the series, Old Places, New Faces, The General Epistles offers a series of 12 Bible studies based on Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, and Jude. The geographical locations of Biblical characters can symbolically refer to places we find ourselves with respect to our faith. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve Him better.