Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Collecting Manna: The Formula of Concord

Food for thought for Lutherans and other antinomians:
For as Dr. Luther writes in the preface to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, "faith is a divine work in us which changes us and makes us to be born anew of God. It kills the old "Adam" and makes us altogether different people, in heart and spirit and mind and all powers; and it brings with it the Holy Spirit. O, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is asked, it has already done them, and is constantly doing them.

Whoever does not do such good works, however, is an unbeliever, who gropes and looks around for faith and good works, but knows neither what faith is nor what good works are. Yet such a person talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works.

Faith is a living, daring, confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake life itself on it a thousand times. This knowledge of and confidence in God's grace makes people glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures. And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God, who has shown this grace. Thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light from the fire. (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration V.10-12:576 (Book of Concord, trans. Kolb and Wengert. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000).

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