Accordingly, whoever conveys this teaching concerning the gracious election of God in such a way that troubled Christians gain no comfort from it but are thrown into despair by it, or in such a way that the impenitent are strengthened in their impudence, then it is undoubtedly certain and true that this teaching is not being presented according to God’s Word and will but rather according to reason and at the instigation of the wicked devil

“Christian community is like the Christian’s sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim. Only God knows the real sate of our fellowship, of our sanctification. What may appear weak and trifling to us may be great and glorious to God. Just as the Christian should not be constantly feeling his spiritual pulse, so, too, the Christian community has not been give to us by God for us to be constantly taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more surely and steadily will fellowship increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.”

“The biblical and reformational understanding of a generous God, who is continuously giving, sharply contradicts the activism that is advocated in the present age, which wants nothing to be given as a gift. But God is categorically the one who gives. His giving nature defines the form that is his actions take, as the one who ‘justifies the ungodly’ (Rom. 4:5) and who in the same way ‘gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist’ (Rom. 4:17). Creation and new creation are both categorical gift. The first Word to the human being is a gifting Word: ‘You may freely eat of every tree!’ (Gen. 2:16)—renewed in the gifting Word of the Lord’s Supper: ‘Take and eat. This is my body, given for you!’ According to Luther, God’s entire trinitarian being, within his own being as well as for us—though it is not usually emphasized in the theological tradition—is to be apprehended as giving and giving as a sacrifice.”

“The third incomparable benefit of faith is that h it unites the soul with Christ as a bride is united with her bridegroom. By this mystery, as the Apostle teaches, Christ and the soul become one flesh [Ephesians 5:31-32]. And if they are on flesh and there is between them a true marriage—indeed the most perfect of all marriages—it follows that everything they have they hold in common, the good as well as the evil. Accordingly the believing soul can boast of and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were its own, and whatever the soul has Christ claims as his own. Let us compare these and we shall see inestimable benefits. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation. Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s; for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things which are his bride’s and bestow upon her the things that are his If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?”

In the doctrine of the antinomians there was this statement: “If somebody were an adulterer, provided only that he believed, he would have a gracious God.” But what kind of church will it be, I ask, in which so awful a statement is heard? A distinction is necessary, and it should be taught that adulterers or sinners are of two kinds: some who become aware of their adultery or sin to such an extent that they shudder with their whole heart and begin to repent earnestly, and not only feel sorry for what they have done but also sincerely desire and endeavor never again to commit anything like it. These are not smug in their sin; they are thoroughly frightened, and they dread God’s wrath. If they take hold of the Word of the Gospel and trust in the mercy of God for Christ’s sake, they are saved and have forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ.