Friday, December 4, 2015

Luther's Problem. . . now Rome's. . .

Luther insisted that councils can err and so can bishops and even popes.  It was a shocking allegation at a time when people were considered the guarantors of truth.  Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain Reason -- and not by Popes and Councils who have so often contradicted themselves -- my conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant.

For Luther, this was not particular to the papacy since Vatican I had not yet taken place and the infallibility of the ex cathedra teaching authority of the pope not yet enshrined in settled doctrine.  Instead, what we have is the question of unchanging authority on which to rest the faith.  Luther was certainly correct in saying that councils had contradicted one another and that popes had fallen victim of the same inconsistency.  So it followed for Luther that the question for the papacy revolved less around infallibility than whether the pope was head of the church by divine law (iure divino) or human law (iure humano).  In his debate with Eck, Luther insisted that it was human law that made the pope the head of the church and that by divine rite Christ was the head.  Eck ended up leading Luther into asserting that popes have their office by human right, that the pope had no divine primacy over other bishops, that the popes are also subject to Scripture and cannot contradict it, and that popes can err, just as councils had and will err and are also subordinate to Scripture.

What is interesting here as a sidelight is that Luther wrote to comfort Eck after he had fallen from favor and was near death.  For Luther this was not personal (despite how personal the arguments often sounded) but about the question for authority.  Where is the Church?  Where is Christ?  What authority can be trusted to speak truthfully with the voice of God?  Luther wrote to plead his own case before Leo:
Therefore, Leo, my Father, beware of listening to those sirens who make you out to be not simply a man, but partly a god, so that you can command and require whatever you will. It will not happen so, nor will you prevail. You are the servant of servants, and more than any other man, in a most pitiable and perilous position. Let not those men deceive you who pretend that you are lord of the world; who will not allow any one to be a Christian without your authority; who babble of your having power over heaven, hell, and purgatory. These men are your enemies and are seeking your soul to destroy it, as Isaiah says, “My people, they that call thee blessed are themselves deceiving thee.” They are in error who raise you above councils and the universal Church; they are in error who attribute to you alone the right of interpreting Scripture. All these men are seeking to set up their own impieties in the Church under your name, and alas! Satan has gained much through them in the time of your predecessors.

Now we find ourselves at a juncture in which some in Rome fear that Francis may yet prove Luther right.  For surely if Francis has the power or even the desire to overturn established teaching of Scripture and the practice of the Roman Church for centuries, he will have shown Luther to be correct.  While Vatican I insisted that the pope cannot invent doctrine or deviate from it, that is exactly the claim of many with respect to the earlier and now recently closed Synods on the family.  It seems clear that Francis is pressing Rome away from its earlier clarity and into a confusion of stances, practices, and outcomes that are surely more local than universal and universality is one of the key claims of Rome and the papacy.  So if it can be shown that Francis is on the side of changing the practices that in effect change the doctrine or change the doctrines directly, he will have proven Luther prophetic in his insistence that Scripture is the final arbiter of truth and that all other authorities have and will continue to err.

No less that Joseph Ratzinger admitted:  “Not every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis, may of them have been a waste of time.  Despite all the good to be found in the texts it produced, the last word about the historical value of Vatican Council II has yet to be spoken.” In Principles of Catholic Theology: building Stones for a Fundamental Theology. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987, p. 378.

However, it must be said that when Luther appealed to conscience and to Scripture alone, he was not in the least inventing what has become the mark of Protestantism -- individual choice and determination of what Scripture says and what is to be believed and a naked Scripture that has effectively forgotten catholic doctrine and practice.  Luther did not fight one pope in order to invent a papacy of individual conscience that stood over the Word of God and Luther did not say Scripture alone to forget creed, council, and confession that, through the ages, has affirmed the Word yesterday, today, and forever the same.

20 comments:

Janis Williams said...

It will be interesting to see what kind of damage control Rome develops as Francis advances his plans. Rome will do what Rome does. What concerns me is the last paragraph. Protestantism today is more Catholic (not catholic) than ever. The individual choices and teachings of the megachurch popestars are, at an ever increasing rate anti-Christian. As Chris Rosebrough says, "There is nothing great about the Great Apostasy." I don't remember who said this recently, but today's megahurches are making themselves a nicer place to go to hell from.

Janis Williams said...

Still don't remember the name, but the last omment about churches being a nice place to go to hell from came from a guest on Steadfast Throwdon podcast. He was a former Baptist now Lutheran (may that tribe increase), and Australian by birth. Sorry I can't put a name to him, but could be found @Steadfast Lutheran site, I imagine.

Janis Williams said...

Checked. Name is Tim Wood, and it's actually a quote from Adrian Rogers, of Bellvue Baptist in Memphis, TN. Rogers is deceased. The saying/quote was, "All we're doing is making the world a better place to go to hell from." Still applicable to the megachurch popestars and their cchurches.

Anonymous said...

Francis is doing much to live up to the idea that he will be the last pope, the one that will totally destroy the Roman Church. I personally had great hope when B16 was pope, but that went out the window with the election of Francis. This is not a new trend. Francis was the runner-up in the election of B16, so there have been these sorts of ideas floating in Rome since the time B16 was elected if not before. What a fiasco!

Fr.D+

Kirk Skeptic said...

No, Fr D, these ideas have been floating around prior to Vatican II, or they woudn't have had traction that they have. The rot of liberalism/antinomianism starts when a church asks "hath God said?" so Rome has had it coming for ages.

Carl Vehse said...

Luther wrote to plead his own case before Leo"

The then-quoted excerpt comes from Luther's 1520 treatise, "On the Freedom of a Christian," written three months after Leo issued his Exsurge Domine, threatening Luther with excommunication.

In the weeks that followed Luther also issued his much more critical tracts against the pope and romish practices: "On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church" and "To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation."

And, of course, on December 10th (this should be a Lutheran Church celebration and bratwurst-roast day) Luther had a bonfire at Wittenberg and burned Leo X's papal bull Exsurge Domine, the Decretals of Clement VI, the Summa Angelica and the Chrysposus of Dr. Eck and probably some other papal documents. Luther explained his actions in a treatise, "Quare Pontificis Romani et discipulorum eius Libri a D. Martino Luthero combusti sint" (Why the Pope and his Recent Book are Burned and Assertions Concerning All Articles).

Jais Tinglund said...

If memory serves me, Mr. Wood is actually South African by birth (which, I suppose, would make him African-American) rather than Australian.

James Kellerman said...

Kirk Skeptic, Amen. Too many people assume that the first liberal thought in Rome occurred somewhere around 1962. These same people also probably assume that the Sexual Revolution began in 1967 with the Summer of Love.

William Tighe said...

"However, it must be said that when Luther appealed to conscience and to Scripture alone, he was not in the least inventing what has become the mark of Protestantism -- individual choice and determination of what Scripture says and what is to be believed and a naked Scripture that has effectively forgotten catholic doctrine and practice."

Well, not in the least intentionally inventing it.

Unknown said...

The principle behind Papal Infallibility is the same as the one behind our own Immaculate Confessions. Although the Confessions demonstrably contain numerous serious errors, by assertion, we are not allowed to question them. So how are we different from the followers of Rome?
My guess is that one of the reasons why we do not allow any discussion of this matter is that we fear this would bring ruin to our church. This is a misguided notion, a lack of faith in the Holy Spirit’s work of enlightening and sanctifying individuals and the whole Christian Church. It is the traditions of men in the form of Law posing as Gospel.
What troubles me is that whenever a doctrine varies from Scripture, the Gospel is diminished, and with it the assurance of salvation, which our Lord intends each one of us to have. Luke 12: 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
On the contrary, those laypersons who today will, after church, talk only about their favorite football team or the political campaign, might actually begin to talk about Law, Gospel, Grace, Mercy, and the Kingdom. Now that would be something!
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

SCEcclesia said...

Cooee and whatho from Downunder, Pastor Peters. I am supposed to be preparing a presentation on the Eschatology of Gaudium et Spes, and your post has distracted me (for which I have the good Dr WT to thank).

Lots of future perfects and conditional futures in your post - what will have been the case if x or y might happen. As yet, none of the feared future conditions actually have happened.

I wonder how Blessed Dr Martin might have felt about Vatican I if that doctrine had been clearly defined in his day (I mean before he headed down the path of revolution, not after). Because the truth is that that it greatly limited rather than expanded the authority of the pope. Any reigning pope has magisterial authority, indeed any reigning diocesan ordinary (I could say any Lutheran pastor in his own congregation), but infallible teaching authority is very, very narrowly limited. What we Catholics are currently struggling with is the exercise of ordinary, not the extraordinary, magisterium of the Bishop of Rome. And the problem here is that his teaching is so *indefinite* rather than definitive!

For what it is worth, Luther was quite correct when he said that Popes and Councils can err. The real question is not whether such authorities can teach erroneously (that has been shown to be the case), but rather are they capable of teaching infallibly? The Catholic Church answers yes to this question - under very strict and certain conditions.

We concede also that not everything that councils and popes have taught has been useful. That really is the point of the Ratzinger passage you quote. It is like the story of the man in a forest who is lost, and so climbs a tree to see where he is. Even from his vantage point he still can only see endless forest to the horizon in each direction. When he sees a man passing below him, he calls down: "Can you tell me where I am?" "Yes, you are up a tree," comes the reply. "Ah," says the lost man, "I see you are a Dominican." "How did you know?" the friar asks. "Because your reasoning is exactly correct and entirely useless."

But I digress. So, the benefit of popes and councils being able, in a moment of disputed doctrine, to determine the Truth by a special charism of the Holy Spirit, is a great benefit to the Church. This is not to deny the infallible authority of the Scriptures either, of course, and Luther was right to say that his conscience was captive to the Word of God. The problem is that the Word of God (either in Scripture or Tradition) does not define itself - books and traditions do not "teach" no matter how infallible they may be. People teach. "Teaching" is an office in the Church, exercised by those who have received the proper authority. However you determine who has that authority, in the end you can't get around the fact that someone in your ecclesial community must have the authority to do it and must also (unless it all boils down to individual interpretation and conscience) possess the charism of being able to teach infallibly when required to do so.

Carl Vehse said...

George A. Marquart: "Although the Confessions demonstrably contain numerous serious errors, by assertion, we are not allowed to question them."

But it does seem that the Confessions can be accused of "contain[ing] numerous serious errors," without bothering to document or reference even a single one of them, or identifying whether the "serious errors" are of doctrine or errors associated with some nondoctrinal statements, e.g., the effect of garlic on magnets, the fixed geocentric motion of the sun and stars, or whether the Treatise is an appendix to the SA or the AC and Ap or a separate Symbol.

Tossing out such barren accusations of errors in a comment on a blog is not the behavior of real Lutherans.

Unknown said...

Carl Vehse: I had assumed that what is general knowledge need not be demonstrated. But since, apparently it is not, I will give you two examples:
1. The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Article III: Of Love and the Fulfilling of the Law.
“2] It is written in the prophet, Jer. 31:33: I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. And in Rom. 3:31, Paul says: Do we, then, make void the Law through faith? God forbid! Yea, we establish the Law. And Christ says, Matt. 19:17: If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Likewise, 1 Cor. 13:3: If I have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 3] These and similar sentences testify that the Law ought to be begun in us, and be kept by us more and more [that we are to keep the Law when we have been justified by faith, and thus increase more and more in the Spirit]. Moreover, we speak not of ceremonies, but of that Law which gives commandment concerning the movements of the heart, namely, the Decalogue.”
The Hebrew word “Torah”, which God uses in His prophecy, never means Decalogue. Why would God inscribe “the ministry of death” 1 Cor. 3:7 in our hearts? The full meaning of “Torah” is found in 1 Cor. 2:16, “but we have the mind of Christ.” Moreover, it is clear from the text of the Apologia, that what is meant is the Decalogue exclusive of anything else.
2. Luther’s Small Catechism.
Of Baptism:
Fourthly.
“What does such baptizing with water signify?--Answer.
It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Where is this written?--Answer.
St. Paul says Romans, chapter 6: We are buried with Christ by Baptism into death, that, like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
This business of the old Adam daily dying and a new man daily arising is not found anywhere in Scripture, much less in Romans 6. It is a teaching that can only lead people to doubt their faith.
There are more.
Finally, I have been kicked out of the Lutheran Church by better people than you. Three times I fled from the Soviets, I spent many years working in the Soviet Union, as a result of which I developed an intense dislike for anonymous denunciations. That is not the behavior of a real Lutheran.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Unknown said...

Is there a problem with the web site or is it true that nobody responded to my last posting?
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

James Kellerman said...

George,

As the computer programmer said to a disgruntled client, "What you call a bug, I call a feature." What you think is absolutely wrong about Lutheranism--its insistence that we preach sanctification and good works after justification--is actually a core part of Lutheran teaching, proof that justification by grace through faith is not Antinomianism by another name. If we amended our confessions as you suggest, we would be Agricolans, not Lutherans. Furthermore, we would have to omit Articles VI of the Augsburg Confession, Articles IV-VI of the Formula of Concord, etc., etc. In addition, we would have to condemn Luther as a legalist for preaching against the Antinomians.

I will grant you that "Torah" is much broader than "law" understood in its narrow sense. As I like to tell my students in theology classes, "Torah" is best translated "instruction." Of course, many "instructions" are rules of what to do and not to do, but not all of them are. In the same way, Torah may and often does include rules, but may also include the history of God's people as well as the promises of the Messiah and redemption. And so you are correct to point out that Jeremiah 31 has more than merely rules (and, more specifically, the Decalogue) in mind when it speaks of the law inscribed on people's hearts. But the confessions do not purport to give an exhaustive exegesis of every passage. Thus, I would argue that a more gospel-oriented exposition of Jeremiah 31 is appropriate, while nonetheless maintaining that the Apology is correct to mention the Decalogue, since a Christian gladly embraces and delights in the law as well as the gospel, once he has been brought to faith. Thus, there is more to be said about Jeremiah 31 than the Apology states, but it is not wrong in what it affirms.

I also find Luther's exposition of Romans 6 rather uncontroversial. The Scripture is replete with admonitions to repent, to struggle against sin, and to put on Christ. See Colossians 3, for example.

I should add that I came to confessional Lutheranism after having had American Evangelicalism place a heavy burden upon me with its heavy emphasis on sanctification. I had been taught that true Christians never sin, a fiendish doctrine that indeed burdens consciences. But I have never found in the Lutheran confessions anything on sanctification that "leads people to doubt their faith." There is nothing in our confessions that implies that we will come close to perfection. Nor do our confessions emphasize sanctification to such a degree that they forget justification. Indeed, Luther's teaching on Romans 6 states that we will have much to repent of daily. Christians struggle daily, Luther and the confessions teach. Yes, we have begun a new life and we want to live in a godly manner, but we often succumb to temptation. We delight in God's law (narrow sense), but do not carry it out fully. Hence we need the gospel's word of forgiveness and justification again and again, and we never outgrow it. And thus I have found in Lutheranism both a proper and salutary concern for sanctification and a strong emphasis that it is God's justification rather than our sanctification that is the basis of our salvation. I see nothing in the confessions contrary to that assertion.

I will, however, wish you what you have wished me and other readers: Peace and Joy!

Unknown said...

Dear Rev. Kellerman: Although I appreciate your comment, I find it similar to other comments from Lutheran pastors who do two things: they accuse me of things which I did not even come close to saying, and they drown me in an ocean of generalizations in which it is difficult to grasp and hold on to any meaning.
Please point out to me where I came even close to implying that what “is absolutely wrong about Lutheranism—(is)its insistence that we preach sanctification and good works after justification?” I am truly puzzled how anyone’s mind can deduce that from what I wrote.
I made two suggestions, first that Torah and the Ten Commandments are not one and the same thing. Even if you take Torah in its narrowest sense, the five Books of Moses, they contain both Law and Gospel. Therefore, this passage must never be used to defend a concept which is based on the Confessional concept of Law. It is absolutely and indefensibly wrong. But if you take its meaning as St. Paul describes it in 1Cor. 1 and 2, then it means “the mind of God” or “the mind of Christ.” That is what the Holy Spirit, Who dwells in the hearts of every Christian, has written on our hearts.
The second suggestion does not say anything against “admonitions to repent, to struggle against sin, and to put on Christ.” But “to drown the Old Adam daily”; that is, to kill him, is sheer nonsense. As long as we live in this world, we will always be simul iustus et peccator. As soon as the Old Adam is dead, we become sola iustus, and that only happens when we receive our inheritance in heaven. I believe it is a good thing to strive for sanctification, but in Lutheranism it has become the main goal of the Christian life. Scripture maintains that the goal of the Christian is to become a servant as our Lord did. When we do that, sanctification will take care of itself. As long as we concentrate on sanctification for itself, it becomes a supremely selfish activity, just the opposite of what our Lord showed us by His life, and to what the Apostles testified.
The idea that “If we amended our confessions as you suggest, we would be Agricolans, not Lutherans. Furthermore, we would have to omit Articles VI of the Augsburg Confession, Articles IV-VI of the Formula of Concord, etc., etc.,” is a total non sequitur, not based on anything I wrote or believe. Why do that?
Let me make it clear why I object to these two points in our Confessions, and several others. It is because they diminish, they take away from the pure Gospel. That and only that is my concern.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

James Kellerman said...

George,

I understand better now what you object to about Luther's exegesis of Romans 6. As I noted in my earlier post, I did not know what you found troubling about it. Nonetheless, I must state that you still misinterpret what both the Small Catechism and the Apology are saying.

In fact, I find your exegesis of the Small Catechism very puzzling. How could anyone think Luther was denying the simul justus et peccator in his explanation of Romans 6? After all, if the peccator part no longer existed, how could the old man be put to death DAILY? The daily habit of putting the sinful self in us to death is predicated upon the fact that there still remains a sinful self that needs to be put to death. Luther insightfully sums up in one sentence Paul's entire argument of Romans 6-7. On the one hand, Paul says that we died to sin (Romans 6:2), and one might conclude that our sinful nature no longer exists. But Paul knows better. He will argue that the flesh still gets him to do the wrong he detests and to omit the good he wants to do (Romans 7:18-19). What Luther calls "the old Adam" Paul calls "the sin that dwells in me" (Romans 7:20). But even though that sinful self remains, it is not to be coddled or cultivated. Instead, we are to "keep on reckoning [ourselves] as dead to sin" (Romans 6:11). The Greek employs a present imperative that implies this is not a simple, one-time action; although the Greek present imperative has a range of meanings, the most common force is to describe repeated action. This would accord well with Luther's understanding of dying daily.

I'm not sure, but I gather that you think that mere repentance isn't putting the sinful nature to death. Well, in one ontological sense, I suppose you are right: it doesn't end the sinful self's existence. But neither Paul nor Luther has that sense in mind. Rather, repentance puts a limited and temporary hold on sin's influence. Thus, Paul explains that the idea of reckoning ourselves as dead to sin (Romans 6:11) means that sin doesn't reign unchecked in our mortal bodies and that we are not offering ourselves up to sin and naming it our lord (Romans 6:12-14). Luther captures this idea well by saying that we drown the old Adam "by daily contrition and repentance."

Continued below.

James Kellerman said...

As for the passage from the Apology, you merely repeat what you said before and did not interact with my explanation. First of all, I agreed that Torah, including the word "Torah" in Jeremiah 31, is a broader concept than merely the law (or its summary, the Decalogue). Thus, Jeremiah 31 is proclaiming that God would write His Word on people's heart, and that that Word should be understood to include the gospel. But I pointed out that the confessions are not to be understood as offering an exhaustive exegesis of every Scripture passage. Thus, if the Apology uses Jeremiah 31 to prove that God writes the law on our hearts in the New Testament age, no one is prevented from saying, "But He also writes the Gospel there, too."

Apology III is defending the idea that godly living flows from justification and that a robust teaching of justification does not lead to idleness. Thus, the Apology is not trying to offer a complete exegesis of Jeremiah's writings, but takes one point that can be gleaned from it that is applicable for its argument. Jeremiah argues that the forgiveness of sins leads a person to delight in God's Word. That Word includes both law and gospel. Melanchthon focuses on the law, since it is most relevant for his discussion. But a commentary on Jeremiah would do right to bring out how both law and gospel are written in a Christian's heart.

Thus, I and Apology III do not deny that the gospel is written in our hearts, but it does seem that you deny that the law is written there, too. Instead there is simply "the mind of Christ," which I take to be nothing other than the gospel. If that is the case, then, it would make sense for me to raise the issue of antinomianism, which teaches that a Christian should have no truck with the law. But if you understand "the mind of Christ" to include the law, then you are not an antinomian--and also shouldn't object to the Apology's quotation of Jeremiah 31.

Finally, I never said that "sanctification is the main goal of the Christian life" or that we should "concentrate on sanctification for itself." Aside from Nordlie and Bickel, I don't know of anyone in recent Lutheranism who has argued that way, and certainly I never said as much. In fact, as I told you in the last paragraph of my previous post, I found those particular understandings of sanctification thankfully lacking in confessional Lutheranism.

Unknown said...

Dear Rev. Kellerman: first with regard to the Apology and the Decalogue: I am sure you are aware that there are about a dozen Hebrew words (depending on whether or not you count their Aramaic derivatives) that are translated as “Law” (Nomos) in the Septuagint and in most English versions of the Bible. Not one of those words, nor the Greek word, nomos, means what we Lutherans define as “Law.” Nevertheless, when talking about “Law and Gospel” we use the translated Hebrew and Greek words as proof texts as if they conform to our Lutheran understanding of “Law.” “Torah”, which is not the most frequently used word which we translate as “Law”, is in reality ALWAYS a mixture of Law and Gospel, whether in its narrowest sense as the Pentateuch, or in its broadest sense as “The Mind of God” or “The Mind of Christ.” It also means “Instruction”, but not in the sense of that coming from a judge, but that coming from a parent. That is my strictly linguistic argument against the translation of “Torah” as the “Ten Commandments.” The latter are called “the words”, or “the ten words.”
But there is a theological argument also. Melanchthon uses the passage as a proof text for a section called, “Love and the Fulfillment of the Law.” Please understand I have nothing against love or the fulfillment, or even the effort of the fulfillment, of the Law. But this passage is pure Gospel. It has nothing to do with the Law, as defined by the Confessions, even though the Greek text has the word “Law” in it. It is the clearest, most wonderful prophecy of the redemptions by grace through faith in the Old Testament. Like the covenant with Abraham, and unlike the Covenant at Sinai, it is one-sided and requires nothing of us. God will do everything. That is pure Gospel.
Melanchthon could have used any number of other Scriptural passages to make his point. I can only attribute the fact that he used this one to the fact that he did not understand it.
About Baptism later.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Unknown said...

Dear Rev. Kellerman: now to the Small Catechism:
You write, “Luther insightfully sums up in one sentence Paul's entire argument of Romans 6-7.” Is that the argument that ends with, Romans 7:25, “So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin?” Besides, Luther quotes only Romans 6 as his source. In his explanation he compares the one time death and resurrection of our Lord with our one time baptism and the death of the old self. By implication he says that this process somehow repeats in putting to death the Old Adam and becoming renewed daily, “and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” This may lead some people to believe that if they do not go through the process of drowning the old Adam and “daily coming forth, etc.”, they shall not live before God in righteousness and purity forever. But “the new man” rises from the waters of Baptism once, and forever is the man who shall “live with God, etc.” This is a confusion of justification and sanctification, to the detriment of the Gospel.
Baptism signifies that we receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that we become members of the Kingdom of God, which our Lord proclaimed. What we do afterward is due to our new natures, but it has no effect on our salvation. Our new natures, or “the mind of Christ”, are not so much concerned about self-improvement as about service to others, as our Lord commanded. St. Paul makes no mention in Romans 6 of repentance. Luther assumes that it is repentance that will cause us “to be good,” so we should do a lot of repenting. St. Paul assumes that it is our new nature that will want us to fight the sin within us.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart