A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series April 20, 2013 - Jubilate: Easter 4
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, John 16:16-22 for the Jubilate: Easter 4, April 20, 2013.
It is from Smalcald Articles: Part III, Article III,1-8.
Just as our Lord's dear disciples had sorrow for a little while when He died and was buried for the sins of the world, so too each of our Lord's dear baptized believers has sorrow for a little while over his own sins before the comfort and joy of the Gospel of forgiveness is revealed.
1 The New Testament keeps and urges this office ‹of the Law›, 2 This is God's thunderbolt. By the Law He strikes down both obvious sinners and false saints. He declares no one to be in the right, but drives them all together to terror and despair. This is the hammer. As Jeremiah says, "Is not My word like … a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?" (23:29). This is not active contrition or manufactured repentance. It is passive contrition, true sorrow of heart, suffering, and the sensation of death.
3 This is what true repentance means. Here a person needs to hear something like this, "You are all of no account, whether you are obvious sinners or saints ‹in your own opinions›. You have to become different from what you are now. You have to act differently than you are now acting, whether you are as great, wise, powerful, and holy as you can be. Here no one is godly."
4 But to this office of the Law, the New Testament immediately adds the consoling promise of grace through the Gospel. This must be believed. As Christ declares, "Repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15). That is, become different, act differently, and believe My promise. 5 John the Baptist (preceding Christ) is called a preacher of repentance, but this is for the forgiveness of sins. 6 That is, John was to accuse all and convict them of being sinners. This is so they can know what they are before God and acknowledge that they are lost. So they can be prepared for the Lord [Mark 1:3] to receive grace and to expect and accept from Him the forgiveness of sins. This is what Christ Himself says, "Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in [My] name to all nations" (Luke 24:47).
7 Whenever the Law alone exercises its office, without the Gospel being added, there is nothing but death and hell, and one must despair, as Saul and Judas did [1 Samuel 31; Matthew 27:5]. St. Paul says, through sin the Law kills. 8 [See Romans 7:10.] On the other hand, the Gospel brings consolation and forgiveness.
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen