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Archive for July 8th, 2019

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“…the preaching and hearing of God’s Word are the Holy Spirit’s instruments. By, with, and through these instruments the Spirit desires to work effectively, to convert people to God, and to work in them both to will and to do [Philippians 2:13]…

God works through this means (i.e., the preaching and hearing of His Word). He breaks our hearts [Jeremiah 4:3—4] and draws us to Him [John 6:44]. Through the preaching of the Law, a person comes to know his sins and God’s wrath. He experiences in his heart true terrors, contrition, and sorrow. Through the preaching of, and reflection on, the Holy Gospel about the gracious forgiveness of sins in Christ, a spark of faith is kindled in him. This faith accepts the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake and comforts itself with the Gospel promise. So, the Holy Spirit (who does all this) is sent into the heart [Galatians 4:6].

…no conversion would follow [this preaching and teaching] if the power and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit were not added [1 Corinthians 3:6—7]. The Spirit enlightens and converts hearts through the Word preached and heard. So, people believe this Word and agree with it. Neither preacher nor hearer is to doubt this grace and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit. They should be certain that when God’s Word is preached purely and truly, according to God’s command and will, and people listen attentively and seriously and meditate on it, God is certainly present with His grace. He grants, as has been said, what otherwise a person can neither accept nor give by his own powers. For we should not and cannot always judge from feeling about the presence, work, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, as to how and when they are experienced in the heart. They are often covered and happen in great weakness. Therefore, we should be certain about and agree with the promise that God’s Word preached and heard is truly an office and work of the Holy Spirit. He is certainly effective and works in our hearts by them (2 Corinthians 2:14—17; 3:5—6).

From Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord (Concordia Publishing House), Solid Declaration II 52, 54-56, as cited in The Treasury of Daily Prayer (CPH)/emphasis added

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