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What Luther Says

Know Your Enemy (But Remember Your Savior!)

The importance of knowing your enemy...

We must know our enemy. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Note how close the words “temptation” and “evil” are to one another. With every temptation there is real evil at work and we are powerless to stop it. No amount of human will-power and strength can defend against the onslaught of the devil, world and our own sinful nature. Temptation must be met with a power outside of us, the gospel that is the “power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). The power of God’s forgiveness is the remedy for every sick sinner caught up in a transgression. Therefore, if confessing sin and receiving forgiveness is the answer, then hiding sin is a surefire way to exacerbate the problem. The devil loves darkness, but hates the light. The sinful flesh hates the light and flees to the cover of darkness where sin can fester and rot. Keeping sins private may seem like a way of avoiding shame and embarrassment, but it’s just what the devil wants—for you to keep yours sins hidden from yourself, even from God.

The Psalmist speaks about containing sin. “When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long…I acknowledged my sin to you and I did not cover my iniquity; I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin’” (Psalm 32:4-5). From decaying and groaning to receiving God’s mercy and healing, the Psalmist confesses and receives the grace and absolution God promises.

But the news gets better. Not only does God promise you absolution in Christ, He tells you where you can hear it, and this is vital. Your pastor, a called minister of Christ, is charged to forgive you, the repentant sinner. Your pastor is God’s man working under His authority and divine command to absolve those crushed, burdened, and looking for grace. This means you know exactly where to go when temptation hits. No guesswork and confusion; just go to the pastor and hear what Christ charges him to say: that you are forgiven for the sake of Jesus and that you can depart in peace. There is tremendous comfort in hearing your sins cannot kill you because you are justified and cleansed in Christ, and we mustn’t tire of hearing this message. Take advantage of confession and absolution, in which we are free to bring our sins into His light and receive His peace. Hear the gospel that is the true balm for the wounded conscience—the consolation of knowing the very sins we struggle with have been taken care of by Jesus.

*- Rev. Ryan J. Ogrodowicz

Remember, God presses us toward contrition, confession, and repentance (Psalm 32:4; Romans 7).

"Confession is mentioned at different times in the Psalms. ... Such confession of sin, which is made to God, is contrition in itself. When confession is made to God, it must be made with the heart, not only with the voice, like actors on the stage. Confession is contrition in which, feeling God's anger, we confess that God is justly angry and that He cannot be reconciled by our works. Yet, we seek for mercy because of God's promise."
*- Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XIIB 10

When we intentionally cover our sin it troubles both body and mind. When we confess our iniquity, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins (Psalm 32:5; Psalm 51:1-2; Romans 4:7-8; 1 John 1:8-9).

"He shows that even saints ought to seek forgiveness of sins. They are more than blind who do not realize that wicked desires in the flesh are sins."

*- Apology of the Augsburg Confession, V 47-48

In a Lutheran layman's terms, know your enemy, but remember your Savior, Jesus Christ!

It's like how Psalm 32:1 shows us how we are justified through faith (cf. Romans 4:7-8). The confession found in that Old Testament passage reveals that David was not relying on his works, but on God's grace alone, and that's the key here.

Although we are sinners, God forgives us and covers us with His righteousness.

We just need to remember to repent and confess our sins daily while also receiving His means of grace and believing Him when He tells us what they have done (and continue to do) for us (1 John 1:9).

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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