Dr. Rod Rosenbladt on Solus Christus
Solitude produces depression. When we are alone the worst and saddest things come to mind. We reflect in detail upon all sorts of evils. And if we have encountered adversity in our lives, we dwell upon it as much as possible, magnify it, think that no one is so unhappy as we are, and imagine the worst possible consequences…
Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)
Here Peter speaks of a spiritual girding of the mind, just as one girds his sword to the loins of his body. This is an admonition to faith, and the sense is this: While such things are preached to you and bestowed upon you through the Gospel as the angels would rejoice and desire to behold, rely on them and fix your confidence on them with all firmness, so that it shall be a real faith, and not a painted or fictitious fancy or dream.
It is as though he means to say: You have now heard the Gospel and have come to believe, therefore see to it that you abide in it, and do not permit yourselves to be drawn away with false doctrine, which will cause you to waver and run hither and thither with works. Be sober, he says. To be sober is the chief work of faith. For though a man has been justified, he still is not secure from evil lusts. Faith has indeed begun to subdue the flesh, but this flesh is ever bestirring itself, and running riot in all sorts of lusts, which would gladly break forth again and act after their own will. Therefore the spirit must daily work to restrain and subdue it. And fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The Christian faith is of such a nature that it plants itself freely on the Word of God with entire confidence, risks to live freely in it, and goes joyfully onward.
Therefore the Apostle would have us dare to live in it cheerfully, for God, who offers us such grace, will surely not deceive us.
So if there is a heart that feels its sin and desires comfort, it has here a sure refuge where it finds and hears God’s Word because through a human being God looses and absolves from sin….We urge you, however, to confess and express your needs, not for the purpose of performing a work but to hear what God wants to say to you. The Word or absolution, I say, is what you should concentrate on, magnifying and cherishing it as a great and wonderful treasure to be accepted with all praise and gratitude. …
Thus we teach what a wonderful, precious, comforting thing confession is, and we urge that such a precious blessing should not be despised, especially when we consider our great need. If you are a Christian, you need neither my compulsion nor the pope’s command at any point, but you will force yourself to go and ask me that you may share in it. However, if you despise it and proudly stay away from confession, then we must come to the conclusion that you are not a Christian and that you also ought not receive the sacrament [of the Altar]. For you despise what no Christian ought to despise, and you show thereby that you can have no forgiveness of sin. …
If you are a Christian, you should be glad to run more than a hundred miles for confession, not under compulsion but rather coming and compelling us to offer it. For here the compulsion must be reversed; we are the ones who must come under the command and you must come in freedom. We compel no one, but allow ourselves to be compelled, just as we are compelled to preach and administer the sacrament.
Therefore, when I exhort you to go to confession, I am doing nothing but exhorting you to be a Christian….For those who really want to be upright Christians and free from their sins, and who want to have a joyful conscience, truly hunger and thirst already.
And when the watery liturgy of the baptized is over, it is not over, for there flow the waters of life, the Lord’s river and fountain of the water of life flowing, enlivening us through all our days to his consummation. Now it is day by day. “In the morning when you get up, make the sign of the holy cross and say, In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” “The Old Adam in us be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and a new man daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” And so on to the New Jerusalem with its river of the water of life. “On either side of the river the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month [always something more to look forward to]; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. . . . They shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads” (Rev 22:2, 4).