“You have made us for Yourself,
O Lord, and our hearts find no peace
until they rest in You.” – St. Augustine

Free Will and Conversion

We believe that by nature, on account of our sinful corruption, we have no power by which we can come to Jesus or choose Him as our Lord and Savior.  Rather, we are brought to faith in Christ and kept in that faith only by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 2:1-6, Colossians 2:13)

Our churches teach that a person’s will has some freedom to choose civil righteousness and to do things subject to reason.  It has no power, without the Holy Spirit, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness.  For “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14).  This righteousness is worked in the heart when the Holy Spirit is received through the Word. …  (Augsburg Confession: Article 18)

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; just as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.  In this Christian Church, He daily and richly forgives me and all believers of all our sins, and on the last day, He will raise up me and all the dead and will grant me and all believers in Christ eternally life.  This is most certainly true.  (Small Catechism: Explanation of the 3rd Article of the Creed)

Return to the “What We Teach and Believe” Page.