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Luther asserts the work of the Holy Spirit in the 3rd article of the Apostle's Creed and declares that there is no better title than the word, "Sanctification." Luther writes of the work of the Holy Spirit saying, "Neither you nor I could even know anything of Christ, or believe in Him and take Him as our Lord, unless these were first offered to us and bestowed on our hearts through the preaching of the Gospel by the Holy Spirit. The work is finished and completed, Christ has acquired and won the treasure for us by His suffering, death, and resurrection, etc. But if the work remained hidden and no one knew of it, it would have been all in vain, all lost. In order that this treasure might not be buried but put to use and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to be published and proclaimed, in which He has given the Holy Spirit to offer and apply to us this treasure of salvation. Therefore to sanctify is nothing else than to bring us to the Lord Christ to receive this blessing, which we could not obtain by ourselves" (Large Catechism II.38-39). The Holy Spirit is more than just a cheerleader for Jesus, rather He is the one that brings the benefits of the cross and empty tomb to us for our salvation. The Holy Spirit works that we receive the righteousness of Christ by receiving the gift of the Gospel.
How does the Holy Spirit bring us the gifts of the cross? Well, He does this through the published and the proclaimed Word. He works through the means of grace. The Holy Spirit brings us to Jesus in the forgiveness of our sins which He declares to us in the life of the Church, the communion of saints. Luther says, "Until the last day the Holy Spirit remains with the holy community or Christian people. Through it He gathers us, using it to teach and preach the Word. By it He creates and increases sanctification, causing it daily to grow and become strong in the faith and in the fruits of the Spirit" (Large Catechism II.53). In the Church, The Holy Spirit works to make sinners righteous, to declare wicked people a holy nation. The Holy Spirit does go out into the world looking for righteous people to incorporate into His club, but rather seeks sinners in need of a Savior and brings them into the church in Holy Baptism for the forgiveness of their sins. The Holy Spirit works in and through the Church to bring sinners to Jesus, to shine light into the dark places of this world. This is the great comfort. You cannot obtain the righteousness of Jesus by your own merit. The Holy Spirit brings you the Gospel and makes you holy and declares you, in the forgiveness of your sins, to be as righteous as Jesus is. The Holy Spirit does all the work of bringing you to Jesus and keeping you there. This is our chief comfort in every time of spiritual anxiety and failure because it shows that we are weak, but the Holy Spirit is constant in bringing Jesus to us in every time of trail and despair. So take heart my friends, the Holy Spirit is going to continue working on you and will never stop bringing Jesus to you and the benefits of the cross in order that you may be holy in this life and in the one to come.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.