Matins Service

[75] Our election to eternal life does not rest upon our righteousness or virtues but solely on Christ’s merit and the gracious will of his Father, who cannot deny himself [2 Tim. 2:13*], because he is changeless in his will and essence. Therefore, when his children become disobedient and stumble, he again calls them to repentance through his Word, and it is the will of the Holy Spirit to exercise his power in them to convert them through this Word. When they return to him again in true repentance through genuine faith, he will show, as before, his fatherly heart to all those who fear his Word and return to him with their whole heart, as is written in Jeremiah 3[:18-19],

“If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he accept her once again? Would not such a land be greatly polluted? But you have played the whore with many lovers. Nonetheless, come to me once again, says the Lord!”

[76] Furthermore, it is correct and true when it is said, “No one comes to Christ unless drawn by the Father” [John 6:44*]. But the Father does not intend to draw us apart from means. Instead, he has preordained his Word and sacraments as the regular means and instruments for drawing people to himself. It is not the will of either the Father or the Son that people not hear the proclamation of his Word or have contempt for it, nor should they expect to be drawn by the Father apart from Word and sacrament. According to his normal arrangement, the Father draws people by the power of his Holy Spirit through the hearing of his holy, divine Word, as with a net, through which the elect are snatched out of the jaws of the devil. [77] For this reason every poor sinner should act in such a way as to hear the Word diligently and not doubt that the Father is drawing people to himself. For the Holy Spirit wills to be present with his power in the Word and to work through it. This is the drawing of the Father.

Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 652–653.