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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Mass
We have shown the reason why the Mass does not justify ex opere operato, and why, when applied on behalf of others, it does not merit forgiveness. Both conflict with the righteousness of faith. There is no forgiveness of sins, nor are the terrors of death and sin overcome by any work or anything other than by faith in Christ, as Paul says, “Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1).
Pulling It Together
We cannot work our way to God. We cannot do so morally or religiously. Imagine someone saying, I’m good enough now to be forgiven my badness. It makes no sense at all. If you are bad, you are bad. How can you be good enough to have earned a removal of your badness? How can you be pure enough to merit the removal of your sin? If you are not pure, you are impure. If you sin, you are a sinner. You cannot fix that condition of your nature. Do not reason this way: If I work hard enough at being good, my goodness will outweigh my sin enough that God will reward me. He will not. Paul says that God’s law prevents such boasting.
Rejoice, sinner! Because Christ has upheld God’s law and redeemed the world, you are vindicated through faith in him. This is a legal action, independent of your deeds. God absolves you, exonerates you, clears your name, by virtue of what Christ has done for you, not because of any work, religious or otherwise, that you have done.
Prayer: Blessed Redeemer, thank you for saving me by God’s grace through faith in you. Amen.
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This is Most Certainly True! is a six-chapter mid-week Lenten Series features monologues from Martin Luther himself, based on his writings in the Large Catechism. Luther explains eloquently and simply what each part of the catechism means for us as believers and ends it with an affirmation of certainty: "This is most certainly true!"
Luther's thoughts have been transformed here into dramatic monologues so that we might hear and meditate on the foundations of our Christian faith. In addition to a sample worship service outline, there are hymns suggestions for each monologue and opening dialogues for worship based on the parts of the Small Catechism.