What Justification teaches us about Sin and Grace
Another part of Dr Graul’s Essay.
But furthermore, justification directs our view within. Here we learn to know our sin. That can not be a matter of indifference for which the Son of God was nailed to the cross. Our sin is a great power. As such the sinner who is justified by grace learns to know it. It clings to him not only externally, as though it originated merely in his sensuality; nor did he get it from bad example. No, his innermost being, his heart, is poisoned by it, and it has always been in him, so that he has no recollection of his first sin. He is a sinner from the beginning. This is original sin. But although conceived and born in sin, as the Scriptures say, man still realizes his sin as guilt. He knows that he is accountable to God, for he delighted in sinning, and did not groan under the burden of a foreign, irresistible power.
The justified man’s sins are now forgiven. The grace of God convinces him of this; as a result of grace he learns to know his sin better and better, confesses it still more heartily, so that the new life which God has implanted in him increases from day to day. What then is grace? Justification gives the answer also to this question. According to the Romish doctrine grace is a new power imparted to man which destroys sin in him and works in him good thoughts and deeds. But we who are justified were not remodeled, as it were, the same sins and infirmities which formerly clung to us still remaining. And the old Adam within must daily die by sorrow and repentance. Grace therefore is something different: it is the gracious disposition of God toward us. There fore the forgiveness of sin is its chief work in our behalf.