Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article II Free Will (par 5-6)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae
"God the Holy Spirit, however, does not bring about conversion without means. For this purpose He uses the preaching and hearing of God's Word, as it is written in Romans 1:16, the Gospel 'is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.' Also Romans 10:17 says, 'Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.' It is God's will that His Word should be heard and that a person's ears should not be closed (Psalm 95:8). With this Word the Holy Spirit is present and opens hearts, so that people (like Lydia in Acts 16:14) pay attention to it and are converted only through the Holy Spirit's grace and power, who alone does the work of converting a person. For without His grace, and if He does not grant the increase, our willing and running, our planting, sowing, and watering (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)--are all nothing. As Christ says in John 15:5, 'apart from Me you can do nothing.' With these brief words the Spirit denies free will its powers and ascribes everything to God's grace, in order that no one may boast before God (1 Corinthians 1:29; 2 Corinthians 12:5; Jeremiah 9:23."