Concerning Original Sin – part 3

1 Corinthians 3:18–21

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin 

We will show later more fully that our description agrees with the usual and ancient definition. First, we must show our design in preferring to use these words. In their schools, the adversaries confess that "the material," as they call it, "of original sin is concupiscence." So, in framing the definition, concupiscence should not be omitted, especially now, when some philosophize about original sin in a manner unbecoming teachers of religion. They speak about this natural, wicked desire in terms of heathen philosophy rather than according to God's Word, or Holy Scripture.

Pulling It Together: One of the slogans of the Reformation was (and continues to be) “Sola Scriptura.” Those Latin words mean “Scripture alone.” The idea behind that motto is that the Bible, the written word of God, may be relied upon as a sufficient guide and last word on truth. This is why the Lutherans returned to the Bible over and over again as documentation for what they taught. This was the custom of the prophets and apostles too. They wrote 80 times between the books of Joshua and 1 Peter, “It is written.” This was ample explanation for a variety of positions.

This will be the insistence of the Lutherans too. What is written in the Bible? They were not interested in philosophy so much as they were in what the Bible had to say on a matter. What Aristotle or Plato had to say was always subordinate to the Word of God. Even the Church Fathers were reliable only in as much as they agreed with Scripture. A proper understanding of original sin, therefore, will rely upon “sola Scriptura” as the final word.

Prayer: Lord, let me live today by what is written in your Word. Amen. 

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

Part 1  • Pt 1 Leader's Guide  • Part 2  • Pt 2 Leader's Guide

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Concerning Original Sin – part 3

1 Corinthians 3:18–21

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin 

We will show later more fully that our description agrees with the usual and ancient definition. First, we must show our design in preferring to use these words. In their schools, the adversaries confess that "the material," as they call it, "of original sin is concupiscence." So, in framing the definition, concupiscence should not be omitted, especially now, when some philosophize about original sin in a manner unbecoming teachers of religion. They speak about this natural, wicked desire in terms of heathen philosophy rather than according to God's Word, or Holy Scripture.

Pulling It Together: One of the slogans of the Reformation was (and continues to be) “Sola Scriptura.” Those Latin words mean “Scripture alone.” The idea behind that motto is that the Bible, the written word of God, may be relied upon as a sufficient guide and last word on truth. This is why the Lutherans returned to the Bible over and over again as documentation for what they taught. This was the custom of the prophets and apostles too. They wrote 80 times between the books of Joshua and 1 Peter, “It is written.” This was ample explanation for a variety of positions.

This will be the insistence of the Lutherans too. What is written in the Bible? They were not interested in philosophy so much as they were in what the Bible had to say on a matter. What Aristotle or Plato had to say was always subordinate to the Word of God. Even the Church Fathers were reliable only in as much as they agreed with Scripture. A proper understanding of original sin, therefore, will rely upon “sola Scriptura” as the final word.

Prayer: Lord, let me live today by what is written in your Word. Amen. 

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

Part 1  • Pt 1 Leader's Guide  • Part 2  • Pt 2 Leader's Guide

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Original Sin – part 2

Colossians 3:2–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin

It is quite evident that such subtleties have originated in the schools, not in the council of the Emperor. But although this sophistry can be very easily refuted; yet, in order that all decent folk may understand that we teach nothing absurd on this matter, we ask that the German Confession be examined first. This will free us from the suspicion of novelty. For there it is written: Weiter wird gelehrt, dass nach dem Fall Adams alle Menschen, so natuerlich geboren werden, in Suenden empfangen und geboren werden, das ist, dass sie alle von Mutterleibe an voll boeser Lueste und Neigung sind, keine wahre Gottesfurcht, keinen wahren Glauben an Gott von Natur haben koennen. (It is further taught that since the Fall of Adam all men who are naturally born are conceived and born in sin, i.e., that from their mother's womb, they all are full of evil desire and inclination, and can have by nature no true fear of God, no true faith in God.) This passage testifies that we deny to those conceived according to carnal nature not only the acts of fearing and trusting in God but also the power or gifts to do so. For we say that those naturally born have concupiscence and cannot produce true fear and trust in God. What fault can be found in this? Indeed, we imagine that we have sufficiently vindicated ourselves to respectable people. For in this sense the Latin passage denies the power to human nature—even to infants. Specifically, it denies the gifts and power to produce fear and trust in God. In adults, beyond this innate evil disposition of the heart, it also denies the acts. So when we cite concupiscence, we mean not only the acts or fruits but the constant inclination of our nature that does not cease as long as we are not born anew through the Spirit and faith.

Pulling It Together: A young family lives across my street and yesterday, the little boy brought their heavy trash can down the driveway to the street. His father was already teaching this seven- or eight-year-old some family responsibility. He will probably grow up, being able to care for his own family, providing all the good they need, including properly teaching his own children. We are quite capable of doing some good in this world, once taught to do so.

Yet Lutherans teach that original sin is a lack of power to do good because of a proclivity for evil. By good, we mean a righteousness of life that excludes sin. In our natural beings, we lack the power of such good. We may learn to take out the trash but even the finer acts of our lives are polluted with sin (Isa 64:5–6). This sinful nature is inherited, part of the basic human constitution. It skips no one.

More to the point, though we may learn to do some basic, good things, we are born incapable—and remain unable—of fearing, loving, and trusting God. Therefore, throughout life, we scramble after our lusts. The unceasing disposition to fulfill these natural desires remains in us until we are reborn through the work of God's Spirit and faith (John 3:5–7).

Prayer: Holy Father, set my heart and mind on the things above, not on the things of this earth. Amen. 

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets. 

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Original Sin – part 2

Colossians 3:2–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin

It is quite evident that such subtleties have originated in the schools, not in the council of the Emperor. But although this sophistry can be very easily refuted; yet, in order that all decent folk may understand that we teach nothing absurd on this matter, we ask that the German Confession be examined first. This will free us from the suspicion of novelty. For there it is written: Weiter wird gelehrt, dass nach dem Fall Adams alle Menschen, so natuerlich geboren werden, in Suenden empfangen und geboren werden, das ist, dass sie alle von Mutterleibe an voll boeser Lueste und Neigung sind, keine wahre Gottesfurcht, keinen wahren Glauben an Gott von Natur haben koennen. (It is further taught that since the Fall of Adam all men who are naturally born are conceived and born in sin, i.e., that from their mother's womb, they all are full of evil desire and inclination, and can have by nature no true fear of God, no true faith in God.) This passage testifies that we deny to those conceived according to carnal nature not only the acts of fearing and trusting in God but also the power or gifts to do so. For we say that those naturally born have concupiscence and cannot produce true fear and trust in God. What fault can be found in this? Indeed, we imagine that we have sufficiently vindicated ourselves to respectable people. For in this sense the Latin passage denies the power to human nature—even to infants. Specifically, it denies the gifts and power to produce fear and trust in God. In adults, beyond this innate evil disposition of the heart, it also denies the acts. So when we cite concupiscence, we mean not only the acts or fruits but the constant inclination of our nature that does not cease as long as we are not born anew through the Spirit and faith.

Pulling It Together: A young family lives across my street and yesterday, the little boy brought their heavy trash can down the driveway to the street. His father was already teaching this seven- or eight-year-old some family responsibility. He will probably grow up, being able to care for his own family, providing all the good they need, including properly teaching his own children. We are quite capable of doing some good in this world, once taught to do so.

Yet Lutherans teach that original sin is a lack of power to do good because of a proclivity for evil. By good, we mean a righteousness of life that excludes sin. In our natural beings, we lack the power of such good. We may learn to take out the trash but even the finer acts of our lives are polluted with sin (Isa 64:5–6). This sinful nature is inherited, part of the basic human constitution. It skips no one.

More to the point, though we may learn to do some basic, good things, we are born incapable—and remain unable—of fearing, loving, and trusting God. Therefore, throughout life, we scramble after our lusts. The unceasing disposition to fulfill these natural desires remains in us until we are reborn through the work of God's Spirit and faith (John 3:5–7).

Prayer: Holy Father, set my heart and mind on the things above, not on the things of this earth. Amen. 

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets. 

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Concerning Original Sin – part 1

Psalm 51:3–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin 

The adversaries approve of the second article concerning original sin, but in such a way that they, nevertheless, criticize the definition of original sin, which we incidentally mentioned. Right away, His Imperial Majesty will discover that the writers of the Confutation were lacking not only in judgment but also in honesty. Where we simply desired to examine those things which original sin includes, they framed a discriminatory interpretation by craftily distorting a statement that has nothing in it which in itself is wrong. As a result, they say that to be without the fear of God and without faith is actual guilt. Therefore they deny that it is original guilt.

Pulling It Together: Lutherans teach that original sin is actual sin, not merely the inclination to sin. The result is that we are naturally without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with all the lusts of this life. Lutherans do not say that original sin is these specific things, but that these things are sinful outcomes and evidences of the corruption that is within us from the outset. The sins we commit indicate a deeper problem. The very first sin one commits points to that deeper, original corruption of being. Original sin is not a specific sin such as not fearing God, or not trusting in him, or desiring unlawful things. It is not the commission of a particular sin but the depraved condition, the diseased state of the natural person, that is itself sin.

Therefore, “we confess that we are in bondage to sin.” Our depravity is not just in the thinking, saying, and doing of wrong things; nor is it only in leaving them undone. We are enslaved to such behavior from the start because we are “brought forth in iniquity”—all of us. This corruption of our nature is hereditary (Rom 5:12).

Prayer: Thank you, God, for meeting my sin and guilt with your boundless mercy and grace. Amen. 

Sola Scriptura: The Norm of Faith is a study about how the Word informs and guides our understanding of what Scripture says. In other words, what the Bible means based on what it does. In terms of how we come to articulate our faith and our doctrinal teachings, to speak of Scripture as the "norm" of faith means that it is the standard against which our theology and proclamation are measured.

Leader's Guide

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Original Sin – part 1

Psalm 51:3–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin 

The adversaries approve of the second article concerning original sin, but in such a way that they, nevertheless, criticize the definition of original sin, which we incidentally mentioned. Right away, His Imperial Majesty will discover that the writers of the Confutation were lacking not only in judgment but also in honesty. Where we simply desired to examine those things which original sin includes, they framed a discriminatory interpretation by craftily distorting a statement that has nothing in it which in itself is wrong. As a result, they say that to be without the fear of God and without faith is actual guilt. Therefore they deny that it is original guilt.

Pulling It Together: Lutherans teach that original sin is actual sin, not merely the inclination to sin. The result is that we are naturally without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with all the lusts of this life. Lutherans do not say that original sin is these specific things, but that these things are sinful outcomes and evidences of the corruption that is within us from the outset. The sins we commit indicate a deeper problem. The very first sin one commits points to that deeper, original corruption of being. Original sin is not a specific sin such as not fearing God, or not trusting in him, or desiring unlawful things. It is not the commission of a particular sin but the depraved condition, the diseased state of the natural person, that is itself sin.

Therefore, “we confess that we are in bondage to sin.” Our depravity is not just in the thinking, saying, and doing of wrong things; nor is it only in leaving them undone. We are enslaved to such behavior from the start because we are “brought forth in iniquity”—all of us. This corruption of our nature is hereditary (Rom 5:12).

Prayer: Thank you, God, for meeting my sin and guilt with your boundless mercy and grace. Amen. 

Sola Scriptura: The Norm of Faith is a study about how the Word informs and guides our understanding of what Scripture says. In other words, what the Bible means based on what it does. In terms of how we come to articulate our faith and our doctrinal teachings, to speak of Scripture as the "norm" of faith means that it is the standard against which our theology and proclamation are measured.

Leader's Guide

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Concerning God

Matthew 28:17–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning God

Our adversaries approve of the First Article of our Confession, in which we declare that we believe and teach that there is one divine essence, undivided, etc., and that nevertheless, there are three distinct persons, of the same divine essence, and coeternal: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have always taught and defended this article. We believe that it has sure and firm testimonies in Holy Scripture that cannot be overthrown. We constantly assert that those who think otherwise are outside of the Church of Christ; they are idolaters and insult God.

Pulling It Together: The Church in Rome believed the same thing about God's nature that Lutherans believed. Yet, as we shall soon see, there was much in the Lutheran Confession at Augsburg that they found disagreeable. It is good that we may live together in unity (Psa 133:1) on this Article.

Jesus declared that his followers are to go into all the world, baptizing and teaching. He said that they are to do so in the name. The word “name” is singular—not only in English but in the original Greek as well. Although they are to go in the singular name, three names are given: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians are to go into the world in the one name of the three. Lutherans and Roman Catholics confess that this is God. We believe from Scripture that the name of God given by Jesus is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From these verses in Matthew and from many other evidences in Scripture, we believe that God is Trinity, one divine essence of three persons. 

Prayer: Help me believe the mystery that your Word affirms, Lord. Amen. 

This pocket edition of Luther's Small Catechism includes quotations from the English Standard Versions (ESV) of Scripture, and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship). The primary verses of Scripture, Creed, and Prayers are printed in italics; Luther’s explanations are printed in plain text. Luther’s explanations are formatted with a mid-sentence break, to highlight contrasting phrases and to aid in memorization.

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning God

Matthew 28:17–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning God

Our adversaries approve of the First Article of our Confession, in which we declare that we believe and teach that there is one divine essence, undivided, etc., and that nevertheless, there are three distinct persons, of the same divine essence, and coeternal: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have always taught and defended this article. We believe that it has sure and firm testimonies in Holy Scripture that cannot be overthrown. We constantly assert that those who think otherwise are outside of the Church of Christ; they are idolaters and insult God.

Pulling It Together: The Church in Rome believed the same thing about God's nature that Lutherans believed. Yet, as we shall soon see, there was much in the Lutheran Confession at Augsburg that they found disagreeable. It is good that we may live together in unity (Psa 133:1) on this Article.

Jesus declared that his followers are to go into all the world, baptizing and teaching. He said that they are to do so in the name. The word “name” is singular—not only in English but in the original Greek as well. Although they are to go in the singular name, three names are given: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians are to go into the world in the one name of the three. Lutherans and Roman Catholics confess that this is God. We believe from Scripture that the name of God given by Jesus is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From these verses in Matthew and from many other evidences in Scripture, we believe that God is Trinity, one divine essence of three persons. 

Prayer: Help me believe the mystery that your Word affirms, Lord. Amen. 

This pocket edition of Luther's Small Catechism includes quotations from the English Standard Versions (ESV) of Scripture, and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship). The primary verses of Scripture, Creed, and Prayers are printed in italics; Luther’s explanations are printed in plain text. Luther’s explanations are formatted with a mid-sentence break, to highlight contrasting phrases and to aid in memorization.

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From the Preface to the Defense

Colossians 2:1–7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

From the Preface

We commend our cause to Christ, who in time will judge these controversies. We pray he will look upon the afflicted and scattered churches, and bring them back to godly and perpetual concord. So, if the known and clear truth is trampled underfoot, we will resign this cause to God and Christ in heaven, the Father of orphans and the Judge of widows and of all the forsaken, who we know will rightly judge and pass sentence upon this cause. Lord Jesus Christ, it is your holy gospel; it is your cause. Look upon the many troubled hearts and consciences, and maintain and strengthen in your truth your churches and little flocks who suffer anxiety and distress from the devil. Confound all hypocrisy and lies, and grant peace and unity, so that your glory may advance, and your kingdom, strong against all the gates of hell, may continually grow and increase.

Pulling It Together: The Church in Rome replied to the Lutheran's Augsburg Confession with what is called the Confutation. However, the Lutherans were not permitted to have a copy or to know what was contained therein, except that they agree to three things. They must not publish it, or reply to it, and must agree with it wholesale and unseen. They could not accept those conditions and relied upon notes taken at a public reading of the Confutation. Later, Melancthon also saw a copy and finished the Lutheran Defense that would never be accepted by the emperor. It seemed the Romanists had won the day. Nevertheless, the Defense of the Augsburg Confession was enthusiastically received by the Lutherans, further strengthening their beliefs. Since they had been rooted and built up in Christ and established in the faith, what could they do but trust in God and continue walking in the Lord?

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, give me strength through your Word that I may continue to walk with you in thanksgiving. Amen. 

This "Thank You" card by Ad Crucem includes 1 Corinthians 1:4. The 5"x7" card is printed on premium paper at a G7 and Green Certified USA facility. Each card is protected with a plastic sleeve and includes a bookmark, gift tag, and envelope.

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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From the Preface to the Defense

Colossians 2:1–7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

From the Preface

We commend our cause to Christ, who in time will judge these controversies. We pray he will look upon the afflicted and scattered churches, and bring them back to godly and perpetual concord. So, if the known and clear truth is trampled underfoot, we will resign this cause to God and Christ in heaven, the Father of orphans and the Judge of widows and of all the forsaken, who we know will rightly judge and pass sentence upon this cause. Lord Jesus Christ, it is your holy gospel; it is your cause. Look upon the many troubled hearts and consciences, and maintain and strengthen in your truth your churches and little flocks who suffer anxiety and distress from the devil. Confound all hypocrisy and lies, and grant peace and unity, so that your glory may advance, and your kingdom, strong against all the gates of hell, may continually grow and increase.

Pulling It Together: The Church in Rome replied to the Lutheran's Augsburg Confession with what is called the Confutation. However, the Lutherans were not permitted to have a copy or to know what was contained therein, except that they agree to three things. They must not publish it, or reply to it, and must agree with it wholesale and unseen. They could not accept those conditions and relied upon notes taken at a public reading of the Confutation. Later, Melancthon also saw a copy and finished the Lutheran Defense that would never be accepted by the emperor. It seemed the Romanists had won the day. Nevertheless, the Defense of the Augsburg Confession was enthusiastically received by the Lutherans, further strengthening their beliefs. Since they had been rooted and built up in Christ and established in the faith, what could they do but trust in God and continue walking in the Lord?

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, give me strength through your Word that I may continue to walk with you in thanksgiving. Amen. 

This "Thank You" card by Ad Crucem includes 1 Corinthians 1:4. The 5"x7" card is printed on premium paper at a G7 and Green Certified USA facility. Each card is protected with a plastic sleeve and includes a bookmark, gift tag, and envelope.

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