As soon as the Holy Spirit has begun His work of regeneration and renewal in us through the Word and holy Sacraments, we can and should cooperate through His power, although still in great weakness. This cooperation does not come from our fleshly natural powers, but from the new powers and gifts that the Holy Spirit has begun in us in conversion. St. Paul clearly and eagerly encourages that "working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain" [2 Corinthians 6:1]. The converted person does good to such an extent and as long as God by His Holy Spirit rules, guides, and leads him. As soon as God would withdraw His gracious hand from that person, he could not for a moment keep obeying God. But ‹if anyone would take St. Paul's words in this sense—› the converted person cooperates with the Holy Spirit the way two horses draw a wagon together—this could not be allowed in any way without damaging the divine truth.
‹Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)
For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. I worked harder, though it was not I, but the grace of God with me. (1 Cor. 15:10) (paragraphs 65-66)
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.