Since Christ's ascension God continues to call people into His kingdom and to special areas of service through His Church. The Holy Spirit changes hearts as He works through the Holy Gospel entrusted to His Church.
The Catechism credits everything to the Holy Spirit who, through the preaching office, brings us into the Christian Church, sanctifies us in the Church, and causes us to grow daily in faith and good works.
In this life the regenerate advance to the point that they want to do what is good and love it. This is not of our will and ability, but of the Holy Spirit. Paul says that the Spirit works such willing and doing. In Ephesians 2:10 he credits this work to God alone, when he says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
In Dr. Luther's Small Catechism, it is written: I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
In the explanation of the Second Petition of the Lord's Prayer the following words occur, "How is this done? When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead a godly life here in time and there in eternity." (paragraphs 38-41)
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.