Tuesday, January 14, 2014

God's Word: A Hammer Working Repentance

This, then, is the thunderbolt of God by which He strikes down both obvious sinners and false saints, and permits no one to be in the right, but drives them all together to terror and despair.  This is the hammer, as Jeremiah 23:29 says: “Is not my word like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”  This is not active contrition or manufactured repentance, but passive contrition, true sorrow of heart, suffering, and the sensation of death.

This, then, is what it means to begin true repentance.  Here man must hear such a sentence as this: “You are all of no account, whether you be manifest sinners or saints [in your own opinion].  You all must become different and do otherwise than you now are and are doing, whether you are as great, wise, powerful, and holy as you may.  Here no one is godly, etc.”

But to this office the New Testament immediately adds the consolatory promise of grace through the Gospel, which must be believed as Christ declares, Mark 1:15: “Repent and believe the Gospel,” i.e., become different and do otherwise, and believe my promise.

Smalcald Articles, Part III, Article 3, 2-4

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