Lent 5 A

Some heavy citations to came to after a break, but the reality of sin and the struggles brought on by the old person in us are very real. There is good news, of course, but it might mean talking about the Holy Spirit!

Psalm 130

Verses 3 and 4 are quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 4: Justification (AP 4.58) in a section that reads Jesus into the Hebrew scriptures. The focus, however, is that the psalmist here does not look to works for salvation, but directly to God and God's forgiveness.

Verse 3 is quoted a bit later in the same article (AP 4.179) with several other scriptural passages to show that even saints cannot stand before God's judgment, driving home pleas for God's mercy.

Verses 7 and 8 are cited in Smalcald Articles, Part 3, Article 3: Concerning Repentance (SA 3.3.8) as a reminder that God offers redemption in many ways, not the least of which is in the Word and sacraments.

Romans 8:6-11

Verses 7 and 8 are quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 4: Justification (AP 4.32) as scriptural evidence that without grace we cannot even keep the Ten Commandments because the first table of the Commandments cannot be kept without God's grace.

Verse 7 is quoted in Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article 2: Free Will, Affirmative Thesis 2 (Ep 2.3) to show that "the unregenerated human," or the old person within each of us, is an enemy of God on all fronts. This argument is expanded in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 2: Free Will, where verse 7 makes two further appearances (SD 2.13, 2.17) to drive home the point. The human will, without God's grace, is not neutral, but set against God. Even after the regeneration of the Holy Spirit that gives us faith to receive God's grace, the old person in us still actively fights against God and the rising up of the new person in us.

Verse 10 is partially quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 12: Repentance (AP 12.151, quarto) as part of an unpacking of why we die. The reality of our sinful flesh dooms even the most saintly of people to die. But the crosses we face in life become for the Christian "not a punishment but an exercise and preparation for renewal. For when present sin is put to death and when in the midst of temptations we learn to seek the aid of God and experience of God's presence, we acknowledge more and more the lack of trust in our own hears and we encourage ourselves by faith" (AP 12.151, quarto).

Verse 11 is cited through editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.89) as one passage among several where the gift of the Holy Spirit is promised and brings sanctification and rebirth.


This seems a heavy set of citations, but when reading the story of the raising of Lazarus, it does answer the question of why Lazarus isn't still alive. But once we move past that question, the citation for Romans 8:10 begins to turn the question of sin and death into a question of sanctification. As we seek to follow Jesus, the challenge is not coming face to face with death, but striving to faithfully bear our crosses as we learn again and again to trust in God.

  • Where do you do to try and resolve the personal existential crisis?
  • Where is the old person in you fighting against God?
  • How does an encounter with God's judgment against you lead you to an experience of God's grace?