13] Therefore, if we wish to think or speak correctly and profitably concerning eternal election, or the predestination and ordination of the children of God to eternal life, we should accustom ourselves not to speculate concerning the bare, secret, concealed, inscrutable foreknowledge of God, but how the counsel, purpose, and ordination of God in Christ Jesus, who is the true Book of Life, is revealed to us through the Word, 14] namely, that the entire doctrine concerning the purpose, counsel, will, and ordination of God pertaining to our redemption, call, justification, and salvation should be taken together; as Paul treats and has explained this article Rom. 8:29f ; Eph. 1:4f , as also Christ in the parable, Matt. 22:1ff , namely, that God in His purpose and counsel ordained [decreed]:
15] 1. That the human race is truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ, who, by His faultless [innocency] obedience, suffering, and death, has merited for us the righteousness which avails before God, and eternal life.
16] 2. That such merit and benefits of Christ shall be presented, offered, and distributed to us through His Word and Sacraments.
17] 3. That by His Holy Ghost, through the Word, when it is preached, heard, and pondered, He will be efficacious and active in us, convert hearts to true repentance, and preserve them in the true faith.
18] 4. That He will justify all those who in true repentance receive Christ by a true faith, and will receive them into grace, the adoption of sons, and the inheritance of eternal life.
19] 5. That He will also sanctify in love those who are thus justified, as St. Paul says, Eph. 1:4.
20] 6. That He also will protect them in their great weakness against the devil, the world, and the flesh, and rule and lead them in His ways, raise them again [place His hand beneath them], when they stumble, comfort them under the cross and in temptation, and preserve them [for life eternal].
21] 7. That He will also strengthen, increase, and support to the end the good work which He has begun in them, if they adhere to God's Word, pray diligently, abide in God's goodness [grace], and faithfully use the gifts received.
22] 8. That finally He will eternally save and glorify in life eternal those whom He has elected, called, and justified.
23] And [indeed] in this His counsel, purpose, and ordination God has prepared salvation not only in general, but has in grace considered and chosen to salvation each and every person of the elect who are to be saved through Christ, also ordained that in the way just mentioned He will, by His grace, gifts, and efficacy, bring them thereto [make them participants of eternal salvation], aid, promote, strengthen, and preserve them.
24] All this, according to the Scriptures, is comprised in the doctrine concerning the eternal election of God to adoption and eternal salvation, and is to be understood by it, and never excluded nor omitted, when we speak of God's purpose, predestination, election, and ordination to salvation. And when our thoughts concerning this article are thus formed according to the Scriptures, we can by God's grace simply [and correctly] adapt ourselves to it [and advantageously treat of it].
25] This also belongs to the further explanation and salutary use of the doctrine concerning God's foreknowledge [predestination] to salvation: Since only the elect, whose names are written in the book of life, are saved, how, we can know, whence and whereby we can perceive who are the elect that can and should receive this doctrine for comfort.
26] And of this we should not judge according to our reason, nor according to the Law or from any external appearance. Neither should we attempt to investigate the secret, concealed abyss of divine predestination, but should give heed to the revealed will of God. For He has made known unto us the mystery of His will, and made it manifest through Christ that it might be preached, Eph. 1:9ff ; 2 Tim. 1:9f.
|Martin Chemnitz, served as the senior editor of the Book of Concord.|