Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Real Deal at Work

For this is certainly true that in genuine conversion a change, new emotion, and movement in the intellect, will, and heart must take place, namely, that the heart perceive sin, dread God's wrath, turn from sin, perceive and accept the promise of grace in Christ, have good spiritual thoughts, a Christian purpose and diligence, and strive against the flesh.  For where none of these occurs or is present, there is also no true conversion.  But since the question is about the effective cause, that is, who works this in us, and from where man has this, and how he attains it, this doctrine informs us that, since the natural powers of man cannot do anything or help towards it (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 3:5), God, out of His infinite goodness and mercy, comes first to us.  He causes His holy Gospel to be preached, whereby the Holy Spirit desires to work and accomplish in us this conversion and renewal, and through preaching and meditation upon His Word kindles in us faith and other godly virtues, so that they are gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit alone.  This doctrine, therefore, directs us to the means whereby the Holy Spirit desires to begin and work this.  It also instructs us how those gifts are preserved, strengthened, and increased, and admonishes us that we should not let this grace of God be bestowed on us in vain, but diligently exercise it, and ponder how grievous a sin it is to hinder and resist such operations of the Holy Spirit.

Formula of Concord, II.70-72

No comments: