We confess the scripture to be God's revealed word to us. We confess together that we are sinners in order to receive forgiveness.
There is this one item in our Book of Concord that seems to cause much consternation amongst Lutherans: The Third Use of the Law. It is found in The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord.
Have I bored you yet? This is my attempt to get you up to speed, if you are not a Lutheran reading this post. There are other Christian traditions who also confess certain things, and then there are non-denominational kind of believers who have no formal confessions at all.
Here is the part of the third use of the law that I want to discuss here:
For although the Law is not made for a righteous man, as the apostle testifies 1 Tim. 1:9, but for the unrighteous, yet this is not to be understood in the bare meaning, that the justified are to live without law. For the Law of God has been written in their heart, and also to the first man immediately after his creation a law was given according to which he was to conduct himself. But the meaning of St. Paul is that the Law cannot burden with its curse those who have been reconciled to God through Christ; nor must it vex the regenerate with its coercion, because they have pleasure in God's Law after the inner man.
There are some Lutherans out there who do not hold to third use of the law. I have had many interactions with them, and I also denied it for awhile. Here is my story.
When I denied third use of the law, whenever a sin popped into my head, I wondered, "Is it okay if I do this?" "If I am dead to the law, I must be free to pursue this sin I desire." It would keep me up at night. God is faithful and would not let my conscience abandon His law. As I found out later, denying third use of the law is too good to be true.
I encountered people who flat out say there is no such thing as a third use, such as the theologian Gerhard Forde. After all, Luther never spoke of it. What people forget was that we don't go by every word from Luther's mouth.
I am thankful that we have the Book of Concord. Let's confess what is contained therein.