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Archive for July 10th, 2017

“…faith is conceived and strengthened through Absolution, through the hearing of the Gospel, through the use of the Sacraments, so that it may not give in to the terrors of sin and death while it struggles. This method of repentance is plain and clear. It increases the worth of the Power of the Keys and of the Sacraments. It illumines Christ’s benefit and teaches us to make use of Christ as Mediator and the Atoning Sacrifice…Christ says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Here there are two parts. The “labor” and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and death. To “come to” Christ is to believe that sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. When we believe, our hearts are brought to life by the Holy Spirit through Christ’s Word. Here, therefore, are these two chief parts: contrition and faith.” (The Book of Concord:  Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII, Repentance)

“Some Christians have a weak faith and are shy, troubled, and heartily terrified because of the great number of their sins. They think that in their great impurity they are not worthy of this precious treasure and Christ’s benefits. They feel their weakness of faith and lament it, and from their hearts desire that they may serve God with stronger, more joyful faith and pure obedience. These  are the truly worthy guests for whom this highly venerable Sacrament has been especially instituted and appointed. For Christ says:

  • Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

  • Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (Matthew 9:12)

  • [God’s] power is made mighty in the weak. [2 Corinthians 12:9 Luther]

  • As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him… for God has welcomed him. [Romans 14:1-3]

  • Whoever believes in [the Son of God, be it with a strong or with a weak faith,] may have eternal life. [John 3:15]

Worthiness does not depend on the greatness or smallness, the weakness or strength of faith. Instead, it depends on Christ’s merit, which the distressed father of little faith [Mark 9:24] enjoyed as well as Abraham, Paul, and others who have a joyful and strong faith.”  (The Book of Concord:  Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VII, The Holy Supper)

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