Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Election: A Cause for Comfort, but Not Complacency

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.  Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.  (2 Pet 1:5-10)

And since the Holy Spirit dwells in the elect, who have become believers, as in His temple, and is not idle in them, but impels the children of God to obedience to God’s commands, believers, likewise, should not be idle, and much less resist the impulse of God’s Spirit, but should exercise themselves in all Christian virtues, in all godliness, modesty, temperance, patience, brotherly love, and give all diligence to make their calling and election sure, in order that the more they experience the power and strength of the Spirit within them, the less they may doubt concerning it.  For the Spirit bears witness to the elect that they are God’s children (Rom 8:16).  And although they sometimes fall into temptation so grievous that they imagine they perceive no more power of the indwelling Spirit of God, and say with David, “I said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from before Your sight’” (Psa 31:22), yet they should, without regard to what they experience in themselves, again say with David, in the words immediately following (as is written in the same place), “But You heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried for help.”

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration XI.73-74

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