A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series December 16, 2012 - Third Sunday in Advent: Gaudete
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Matthew 11:2-11 for the Third Sunday in Advent: Gaudete, December 16, 2012.
It is from SMALCALD ARTICLES: PART III, ARTICLE III, 34-40.
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." So spoke John the Baptizer, the messenger sent before the Lord Jesus' face to prepare the way before Him. Thus John joined in the litany of the prophets before him, as well as the Lord whose way he prepared, and every preacher the Lord sends out to this day. As Luther wrote and fittingly nailed to the church doors: "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said [Repent!], willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance."
34 And God now "commands all people everywhere to repent " (Acts 17:30). "All people," He says. No one is an exception who is a human being. 35 This repentance teaches us to discern sin: We are completely lost; there is nothing good in us from head to foot; and we must become absolutely new and different peopl. 36 Such repentance is not partial and fragmentary, like that which does penance for actual sins. Nor, like that, is it uncertain. For it does not debate what is or is not sin. Rather, it hurls everything together and says: Everything in us is nothing but sin (there is nothing in us that is not sin and guilt [Romans 7:18]). What is the use of always investigating, dividing, or distinguishing? This contrition is certain. For we cannot think of any good thing to pay for sin. There is nothing left. There is only a sure despairing about all that we are, think, speak, do, and so on. 37Confession, too, cannot be false, uncertain, or fragmentary. A person who confesses that everything in him is nothing but sin includes all sins, excludes none, forgets none. 38 Neither can the satisfaction be uncertain, because it is not our uncertain, sinful work. Rather, it is the suffering and blood of the innocent Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). 39 This is the repentance John the Baptist preaches (Matthew 3:1-2). and afterward, Christ does this in the Gospel (Mark 1:15), and so do we. By this preaching of repentance, we dash to the ground the Pope and everything built which is called a good work or law. And yet, this foundation, has no good works but only wicked works. No one keeps the Law (as Christ says) but all transgress it (John 7:19). Therefore, the building that is raised upon that rotten foundation is nothing but falsehood and hypocrisy, even where it seems most holy and beautiful. 40 In Christians, this repentance continues until death. For through one's entire life, repentance contends with the sin remaining in the flesh. Paul, testifies that he wars with the law in his members (Romans 7:14-25) not by his own powers, but by the gift of the Holy Spirit that follows the forgiveness of sins (Romans 8:1-17). This gift daily cleanses and sweeps out the remaining sins and works to make a person truly pure and holy.
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