Faith in the Holy Ghost
Our faith and its assurance do not proceed from flesh and blood, that is to say, from natural powers within us, but are the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; whom we confess to be God, equal with the Father and with his Son, who sanctifies us, and brings us into all truth by his own working, without whom we should remain forever enemies to God and ignorant of his Son, Christ Jesus. For by nature we are so dead, blind, and perverse, that neither can we feel when we are pricked, see the light when it shines, nor assent to the will of God when it is revealed, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus quicken that which is dead, remove the darkness from our minds, and bow our stubborn hearts to the obedience of his blessed will. And so, as we confess that God the Father created us when we were not, as his Son our Lord Jesus redeemed us when we were enemies to him, so also do we confess that the Holy Ghost does sanctify and regenerate us, without respect to any merit proceeding from us, be it before or be it after our regeneration. To put this even more plainly; as we willingly disclaim any honor and glory for our own creation and redemption, so do we willingly also for our regeneration and sanctification; for by ourselves we are not capable of thinking one good thought, but he who has begun the work in us alone continues us in it, to the praise and glory of his undeserved grace.
Sin. It's not pretty, and we have covered ourselves in it. Our efforts are stained by it. Thanks be to God for grace and mercy. Thanks be to God for the Holy Spirit, which works in our hearts and awakens us to recognize not only our own sin but also the grace of God. We cannot save ourselves, but the Holy Spirit working through us can open our eyes to the salvation we have in Christ.
I want so badly to be able to take credit for salvation. I want to be able to say that it is my one pure thought, my one good deed, that enables me to serve my Lord and God. But it simply isn't. I am such a cauldron of greed and pride that if it were left to me, I would still be vainly clawing at the walls of the pit of death that Christ destroyed so many years ago. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is at work within me, opening my eyes to recognize the wonder of God, opening my heart to receive the work of Christ, opening my life to be a conduit so that God might work through me to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God.