Justification of the Sinner Before God
"I, a poor sinful man, confess to Almighty God, my Creator and Savior, that I have sinned not only in thought, word, and deed..." Why does the Lutheran Divine Service begin thus?
Because no one who has not recognized his sin can receive grace, and certainly not even understand justification by faith. For the heart of man is by nature either Pharasaical or drowned in lust for sin.
Either it depends upon his good works, and on that account finds the imputation of a foreign righteousness useless, or it cheers, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die," and assures itself that it needs neither its own nor a foreign righteousness.
To preach justification by faith to such people is known as casting pearls before the swine.
He, on the other hand, who lies in water is glad when a foreign (alien) hand is lowered from a foreign (alien) ship to hoist him onto dry land. He who recognizes the walls around himself as prison walls thanks God when He breaks open its door and says to him, "You are free!"
This Book Study examines this amazing truth.