The Spirit Giveth Life

I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
1 CORINTHIANS 4:4
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The Spirit Giveth Life
The meaning of . . . "the spirit giveth life" becomes clear. The reference is to naught else but the holy Gospel, a message of healing and salvation; a precious, comforting word. It comforts and refreshes the sad heart. It wrests it out of the jaws of death and hell, as it were, and transports it to the certain hope of eternal life, through faith in Christ. When the last hour comes to the believer, and death and God's judgment appear before his eyes, he does not base his comfort upon his works. Even though he may have lived the holiest life possible, he says with Paul (1 Corinthians 4:4): "I know nothing against myself, yet am I not hereby justified." These words imply being ill pleased with self, with the whole life; indeed, even the putting to death of self. Though the heart says, "By my works I am neither made righteous nor saved," which is practically admitting oneself to be worthy of death and condemnation, the Spirit extricates from despair, through the Gospel faith . . ..

From the Church Postil, sermon for Trinity 12 on 2 Corinthians 3:4-11 (Luther's Works 79 (Lenker) 8:243)
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