Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12

We should learn to understand that a man who has received the Holy Spirit does not necessarily become a perfect Christian immediately, experiencing no further trouble from the Law or from sin. Nor is the Spirit’s presence always immediately evident from a spotless purity.

We do not teach that the Holy Spirit has already fully performed His office and completed it but simply that He has begun to carry out His office, that His work is beginning to run its course and continually developing without ceasing.

You will never find a single person who is without sin and sorrow, full of righteousness and joy, and so perfect that he is completely self-sufficient, serving everyone in perfect freedom. Scripture clearly tells us what the work and office of the Holy Spirit is, to save men from sin and its terrors, but that office is still not fully accomplished. Every Christian will at times feel sin in his heart and experience the terrors of death. He will be subject to all the assaults which assail other sinners.

Unbelievers are held so fast in their sins that they no longer feel them. Believers, however, do feel them, but they have a helper, the Holy Spirit, who comforts them and strengthens them. Had the Spirit completed His office, this would not be the case.

SL 11:1025 (19-20)

PRAYER: We beseech You, O Lord, to grant us the comforting presence and aid of Your Holy Spirit, that, whatever by His teaching we know to be our duty, we may by His grace and mercy be able to perform, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 3:272-287