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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Tertullian speaks excellently about faith, dwelling upon the oath in the prophet: “As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek 33:11). In swearing that he does not wish the death of a sinner, God shows that faith is required so that we may believe him and be firmly confident that he forgives us. The authority of the divine promises, by itself, ought to be great in our estimation. Still, this promise has also been confirmed by an oath. Therefore, if any one is not confident that he is forgiven, he denies that God has sworn what is true. A more horrible blasphemy cannot be imagined.
Pulling It Together: Should you try not to sin? Certainly; but your ability or inability has nothing to do with forgiveness. Should you be sorry when you sin, and seek to do better? Absolutely, yet again, this has nothing to do with forgiveness of sin. Your righteousness will not deliver you from your transgressions. How can the Scripture be any more clear? Our sorrow, devotion, love, and good works are not part of the justification equation. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15). Now, you either have faith that he does this, or you believe that he needs your assistance. What is written? Jesus saves! Do you believe?
Prayer: Lord, help me to truly repent by having faith in you. Amen.
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This edition of the Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confimation Series. The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition* is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.