Christians do not Remain Lying in their Sins

Easter 1 Wednesday

 

Matthew 28:5-6

“But the angel said to the women: “Fear not! I know that you seek Jesus, the crucified. He is not here. He has risen, as he said. Come and see the place where the Lord lay.” ”

 

In this life, we are just as frail and sinners as other people, except that we, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, do not let the flesh have its way and avoid the major sins. For although the Christians at times also fall, they do not remain lying in their sins, but get up by genuine repentance and obtain the forgiveness of all sins by faith. This is why you cannot judge a Christian according to the outward life. For it is in a sense just as impure and ramshackle as the life of the non-Christians, which is why the Christians pray daily: Forgive us our trespasses. But if you want to consider and judge a Christian correctly, do so according to faith. For on account of our flesh and blood we are sinners and must die and endure misfortune here on earth as much as, or even more than, other people for are not Christians. Especially since we experience sin more than the world that lives life in complete carnal security and is not worried about sin. But you say: “How can we boast that we are holy and without sin?” Simply by believing that our sin is forgiven through Christ who bore our sin and rose from the dead and by asking for this forgiveness. No one but the Christians is able to do this. For believing the forgiveness of sins and asking for it is the work of the Holy Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit is not, one will proceed slowly, as we see in the enemies of the gospel, the pope and his men: They are great, abominable sinners, but they do not feel it and therefore do not ask for forgiveness. But should it happen that they must feel it one day, they will not be able to stand but will have to despair. Especially because they do not know of this image that Christ is risen and has no longer any sin in himself. But a Christian has as much blessedness in Christ – he rose from the dead and is no longer bloody, no longer bears stripes, but is beautiful, lovely, and glorious – as he grasps of this image by faith. For just as he previously was bloody and hung on the cross on account of our sins, so he is now beautiful, pure, and in an eternal life for our comfort so that we should rejoice and take comfort in him. For this happened also for our benefit. Accordingly, both things are true at the same time: According to faith in Christ, we are pure and holy. According to the old Adam we are impure and sinners. Such rubbish we are to throw into the Lord’s Prayer, then we are holy although we are sinners. For we know that, no matter what we lack, our Lord and Head, Christ, rose from the dead; he no longer has any sin, any death in him. Accordingly, we also have neither sin nor death by faith in him. But those who do not believe and, therefore, do not have Christ, must be and remain a sinner despite all his works and worship services; they are of no avail. This is why we should diligently contemplate and form in us this joyful, lovely, comforting Easter image. For there is neither sin nor death in this image. Now, if sin wants to assail you and conscience wants to sadden you because you have done this or that and are weak in faith, turn to this image and say: “It is true, I am a sinner; I am weak in faith. I cannot deny this. But I what consoles me is that I know that Christ took my sin upon himself and bore it. But on Easter, he rose in such a way that all sin and punishment for sin had disappeared.” … Those who, in this way, are able to direct the devil to the Lord Christ, whom the devil could not overpower, are healed. This is the true doctrine concerning faith.

 

St. Louis ed., 13.1:516-519.

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