Even when godly hearts have repentance, faith, and good intentions to live by God's grace ‹in a godly way›, thoughts like these arise: "If you are not foreknown from eternity to salvation, ‹your every effort and entire labor› is no help." This happens especially when they see their weakness and the examples of those who have not persevered, but have fallen away again.
Against this false delusion and thought we should set up the following clear argument, which is sure and cannot fail: All Scripture is inspired by God. It is not for self-confidence and lack of repentance, but "for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Also, everything in God's Word has been written for us, not so that we should be driven to despair by it, but so that "through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4). Therefore, there is no question that lack of repentance or despair should not in any way be caused or strengthened by the sound sense or right use of this teaching about God's eternal foreknowledge. The Scriptures teach this doctrine only to direct us to the Word (Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 1:7), to encourage repentance (2 Timothy 3:16) and godliness (Ephesians 1:14; John 15:3), and to strengthen faith and assure us of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13; John 10:27-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). (paragraphs 11-12)
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.