Easter 6 C

I love the story of the conversion of Lydia. Her story is the only story in the Book of Concord that offers a human example of what conversion looks like. Paired with this John 14 passage, and you can talk about aliens! Wait, I mean the alien and proper work of the Spirit.

Acts 16:9-15

Verse 14 is cited in Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article 2: Free Will, Affirmative Thesis 3 (Ep 2.5) where the story of Lydia's conversion shows how God "effects conversion" (Ep 2.4) through means. The Holy Spirit opened Lydia to the gospel, which Paul was proclaiming.

Hopefully it is no surprise that verse 1 is also quoted in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 2: Free Will (SD 2.26). Here it is in a list of scriptural quotes showing that the Holy Spirit "opens the mind and the heart so that they understand Scripture and are attentive to the Word" (SD 2.26) as part of being reborn through the gospel.

John 14:23-29

Verse 26 is cited through an editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 5: Law and Gospel (SD 5.11) as part of the discussion about the alien work of the Holy Spirit (to convict through the law) and the proper work of the Spirit (to comfort sinners with God's grace). The John 14 passage is a reminder of the proper work of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. Right after this is a quote from Luther unpacking the alien work of the Spirit reflecting on John 16:8. If you want to talk about the alien and proper work of the Spirit, then I commend you to read at least SD 5.12-13, if not WA 22:87, 3-18 (or Luther's reflection on the John 16 passage, which in Luther's day was the gospel reading for the Fifth Sunday After Trinity).

TheoThru

The alien and proper work of the Spirit with Lydia as an example. Might be too much for most folks, at least in that language. But the alien and proper work of the Spirit is still how God effects conversion and new life in and through humans.

  • How does the Spirit still convict us of our sins?
  • How does the Spirit still comfort and draw us through the gospel?
  • Through whom does the Spirit still unexpectedly proclaim the gospel?