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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
Likewise, troubles are inflicted because of present sin so that lust is mortified and extinguished in the saints, so that they may be renewed by the Spirit. Paul says, “Your bodies are dead because of sin” (Rom 8:10); that is, they are mortified because of the present sin still left in our nature. Death itself serves the purpose of abolishing this sinful flesh, so that we may rise absolutely new. Since believers overcome death through faith, there is now no terror of death. There is no longer that sting and sense of wrath of which Paul speaks: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law” (1 Cor 15:56). This power of sin, this sense of wrath, is truly a punishment as long as it is present. But without this sense of wrath, even death is no punishment.
Pulling It Together
Martin Luther proclaimed in his sermon, “On the Hymn of Zacahrias,” that as long as we are clothed with this flesh, sin is not extinguished, nor can be wholly subdued. Sin will remain in us so long as we live in this life. Meanwhile, the Spirit is killing off those sins and desires that remain in us even after having been justified by faith in Christ. So believers are being mortified, or put to death, more and more every day, until the day of our physical deaths, when this sinful flesh, or old nature, is altogether destroyed.
There is nothing about death that should worry us. Indeed, though they do us a great good, the corrections of the present life are far more trouble than death itself. For death is no affliction or punishment but rather, it is the “redemption of our bodies” and the unveiling of the glory of God.
Prayer: Give me patience and faith, O Lord, to endure the sufferings of this life. Amen.
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