A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series December 5, 2010 - Second Sunday in Advent: Populus Zion
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Luke 21:25-36 for the Second Sunday in Advent: Populus Zion, December 5, 2010.
It is from The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, Article XI: God's Eternal Foreknowledge & Election.
The proper understanding and belief regarding both election (also known as predestination) and the second Advent of our Lord serve to both comfort us so that we do not become hopeless wretches, and exhort us so that we do not become self-righteous hypocrites.
10 From [false] notions [regarding election] many get and imagine strange, dangerous, and deadly thoughts. These cause and strengthen either self-confidence and lack of repentance or hopelessness and despair. So people fall into troublesome thoughts and say, "Before the foundation of the world was laid" (Ephesians 1:4), God has foreknown His elect to salvation. And God's foreknowledge cannot fail or be hindered or changed by anyone (Isaiah 14:27; Romans 9:19). In view of this, if I am elected to salvation, nothing can hurt me, even if I perform all sorts of shameful sins without repentance, have no regard for the Word and Sacraments, concern myself neither with repentance, faith, prayer, or godliness. I will and must still be saved, because God's foreknowledge must come to pass. If, however, I am not foreknown, nothing helps me anyway, even though I busy myself with the Word, repent, believe, and so on. For I cannot hinder or change God's foreknowledge.
11 In fact, even when godly hearts have repentance, faith, and good intentions to live by God's grace in a godly way, thoughts these arise: "If you are not foreknown from eternity to salvation, your every effort and entire labor is no help." This happens especially when they see their weakness and the examples of those who have not persevered, but have fallen away again.
12 Against this false delusion and thought we should set up the following clear argument, which is sure and cannot fail: All Scripture is inspired by. It is not for self-confidence and lack of repentance, but "for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Also, everything in God's Word has been written for us, not so that we should be driven to despair by it, but so that "through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).
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