From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
There was no mention here of Christ or faith. Instead, people hoped to overcome and blot out sins before God by their own works. It was with this intention we became priests and monks: that we might organize ourselves against sin.
Pulling It Together: The object of our faith is Christ, not our works of the law. We are justified by faith in him, not by striving to be better. That would be putting faith in our own deeds instead of in the goodness and justice of Christ. This is why Luther stated his famous words: “Christ alone.” We are saved by faith in Christ alone. Should we strive to be holy for lifetimes, yet without faith in Christ, we could not be saved. Moreover, people may have faith in Christ, yet for their lifetimes know they are sinners, and nevertheless, be saved into eternal life. Such is the weight of God’s grace to people who have faith in his Christ.
Prayer: Help me live my life, O God, by faith in your Son. Amen.
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The purpose of Epistles, A Guide to Reading the Scriptures is twofold: to encourage Christians to read God’s Word on a regular basis, and to help the reader slow down and concentrate on each chapter of the epistles before moving on to the next.