from tonight's Bible Class. We're in Jeremiah, and did chapter 9. Eleanor sometimes visits our class. She had the most disturbing comment to report this evening: some fellow Lutherans had actually said to her "I'm forgiven so it doesn't matter what I do."
THIS IS NOT LUTHERAN. This is purely devilish.
The first of the 95 must ever be remembered: When our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to repent, he meant that the entire life of the Christian should be repentance.
Which is to say, the entire life of the Christian, powered by the forgiveness of God, is an ongoing war against the sin that remains in our flesh. There is no peace treaty with that sin because of forgiveness. The exact opposite.
You have a house infested with poisonous snakes and you make a treaty of peace with them? Heck no! You go after them with a vengeance each time one shows its ugly head. You do so in the joyful confidence that the final victory WILL be yours, not theirs!
It is absolutely true that this battle continues to our grave. The evil desires continue to pop up from our corrupted flesh and will. But the grace of the Holy Spirit is given us for this battle to wage on.
Do we do it perfectly? Of course not! We literally LIVE from the forgiveness of our sins. But because we do, we're snake hunters. We watch for the wretches to show up and then we attack with a vengeance. We know they mean us death, and so we bring them to death. We most certainly do NOT feed them, coddle them, or excuse them with saying: "But I'm forgiven, so they can stay."
I had always turned to the Apology's repeated assertions about the impossibility of faith existing outside of repentance, but Pastor Curtis pointed out that the Smalcald Articles are even clearer. Read for yourself III:III:40, 43-45. Luther is utterly clear.
Rant over. And thanks to Eleanor for bringing the matter up - for it surely is a wound that needs addressing on the body of Lutheranism.