A Reading from the Book of Concord 3 year series March 22, 2009 - Fourth Sunday in Lent
Standard LSB B Readings: First: Numbers 21:4-9 Epistle: Ephesians 2:1-10 Gospel: John 3:14-21 Psalm: Psalm 107:1-9
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the LSB Epistle Ephesians 2:1-10 for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 22, 2009.
It is from Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article II, paragraphs 60-63, page 531.
Many Christians do not recall the time before they were made alive in Christ and thus have no experience of living in darkness and hostility toward God. God reveals to us this corrupt state that all of us were born into so be may more fully appreciate what it means to be made alive in Christ.
God the Lord draws the person whom He wants to convert [John 6:44]. He draws him in such a way that his darkened understanding is turned into an enlightened one and his perverse will into an obedient one. This is what the Scriptures call creating a clean heart [Psalm 51:10].
For this reason it is not correct to say that a person can do something good and helpful in divine things before his conversion. Because a person is "dead in [his] trespasses" (Ephesians 2:5) before his conversion, there can be no power to work anything good in divine things in him. Therefore, he has no way of doing something good and helpful in divine things. God has one way of working in a rational creature. He has another way of working in some other irrational creature, or in a stone or block. Yet, before a man's conversion, nothing at all can be credited to him for doing good in spiritual matters.
When a person has been converted [made alive], and is thus enlightened, and his will is renewed, then a person wants to do what is good (so far as he is regenerate or a new man). Then that person will "delight in the law of God, in [his] inner being" (Romans 7:22) and from that time forward does good to such an extent and as long as he is moved by God's Spirit, as Paul says [in Romans 8:14], "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." (paragraphs 60-63)
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.