I was correcting some catechism quizzes the other day when it struck me how personal Martin Luther made his explanation of the 3rd Article. Over and over, he makes salvation a personal matter — as it should be. One’s own faith and confession are paramount, for “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” but “he who does not believe will be condemned.” It’s always the Holy Spirit’s action in an individual sinner’s heart that makes the difference, as He uses His Word to convict sin and kill the sinner, so that Christ can raise that person to new life through regeneration and faith in Him. Just run your eye over Luther’s explanation of the 3rd Article, quoted below, and notice how often Luther puts things on an individual footing. You’ll be surprised — and hopefully, grateful, because God took that much trouble, and still does “richly and daily”, for a sinner such as you or me. (Thanks be to God.)
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; even 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 which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.