From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
Paul also teaches about works in Romans 4:9–12, saying that Abraham did not receive circumcision in order that he might be justified. Being accounted righteous by faith, he had already been justified. Circumcision was added so that he might have a sign written in his body, reminding him to exercise his faith, to confess his faith before others, and by his testimony invite others to believe. “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice” (Heb 11:4). Because he was righteous through faith, the sacrifice that he made was pleasing to God. His work did not merit the forgiveness of sins and grace. Yet, through the sacrifice, he exercised his faith and invited those who observed it to believe.
Pulling It Together: You were baptized before you ever thought to do a good deed. God put his seal on you first. So, baptism, like circumcision, is a sign that God gives Christ’s righteousness to sinners (Rom 5:8). Then, once you have faith in Christ, you will love him and keep his commandments (John 14:15). Your obedience does not make you righteous or cause your sins to be forgiven, since you have already been been justified to God through faith in Christ. Your faithful works confirm your faith in the fulness God within you (Eph 3:19). Through your obedience to God’s commands, he increases your faith while calling others to believe (Luke 17:5).
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that while I was still a sinner, you died for me. Amen.
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Personalities of Faith, part 1, is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.