Only hearing brings joy.
This is the only way for the heart to find peace before God. Everything else that it can undertake leaves doubt in the mind… the forgiveness of sins becomes actual not through works but through hearing…
On this do I build, that God says to me through the brother: ‘I absolve you in the name and merit of Christ.’ I believe this word is true, nor will my faith fail me.
It is ‘built on the rock of the words of the Son of God,’ who cannot lie because He is the Truth. In this way your minds are filled with joy and the true gladness of the Holy Spirit, which consits wholly in the certainty of the Word in hearing.”
LW Vol. 12
“It is He [Jesus] who bore the sins of the world. This is the one satisfaction; this is the one washing, by which we are saved. And the basis of salvation is that when you hear this, you should not be unbelieving toward divine revelation but believe it. The fact that a new life should follow does not belong to satisfaction, but to the obedience you owe. Because the Holy Spirit arouses this in us, we cannot claim any merit of ours from it to reconcile God and to expiate sins which, we are taught, have already been expiated through Jesus Christ.
Only that satisfaction is true which is called and is satisfaction of faith, namely, that Christ Jesus bore your sins.
If this satisfaction stands alone and pure without your flesh, then you may zealously exercise charity, serve your calling, and do everything that the Word of God permits you to undertake. This obedience is pleasing and acceptable to God because it is done with the right aim, namely, of obeying God and not setting up your own satisfaction.
LW Vol. 12
“You do not really preach the gospel if you leave Christ out–if He is omitted, it is not the gospel! You may invite men to listen to your message, but you are only inviting them to gaze upon an empty table unless Christ is the very center and substance of all that you set before them!”
Psalm 51:5 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
“The human seed, this mass from which I was formed, is totally corrupt with faults and sins. The material itself is faulty. The clay, so to speak, out of which this vessel began to be formed is damnable…
So we are not sinners because we commit this or that sin, but we commit them because we are sinners first.
That is, a bad tree and bad seed also bring forth bad fruit, and from a bad root only a bad tree can grow…”
LW Vol. 12
The church is not just another institution. It’s a failing but never quite failed attempt, by limited people, to perpetuate the unlimited generosity of God in the world.
Francis Spufford “Unapologetic: why, despite everything, Christianity, can still make surprising emotional sense“
Psalm 51:4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
“Our whole nature is punishable by death and sin… Thus the Word of God–that is, both the Law and the Gospel, or promise–proves with clear and certain arguments that we are sinners and are saved by grace alone. If God promises life, it follows that we are under death. If He promises forgiveness of sins, it follows that sins dominate and possess us… Both the threats and the promises all show the same thing…
When sins are thus revealed by the Word, two different kinds of men manifest themselves. One kin justifies God and by a humble confession agrees to His denunciation of sin; the other kind condemns God and call Him a liar when He denounces sin…
Believe that you are a sinner, whom God wants to have as His son if you confess that you are lost.
With this confession, by which you confound yourself and open your wounds to the physician, you glorify God and provoke Him to His truly divine work of healing your sick mind like a physician…
Whoever confesses this way that he has sinned against God alone, has a God who justifies.
LW Vol. 12