From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
We believe and teach that good works must necessarily be done. Nevertheless we give Christ his own honor. We believe and teach that by faith, for Christ's sake, we are accounted righteous before God. We are not accounted righteous because of works without Christ as mediator. We do not earn the forgiveness of sins, grace, and forgiveness by works, which cannot be set against the wrath and justice of God. Nor can they overcome the terrors of sin. The terrors of sin are overcome by faith alone. Only Christ is to be presented by faith as mediator against the wrath and judgment of God. If any one think differently, he does not give Christ due honor, who has been set forth that he might be the propitiator, that through him we might have access to the Father.
Pulling It Together: Polls differ as to how many Americans say that they believe in God, some as high as 80% or more. Other polls demonstrate that the most basic evidences of faith are a much lower percentage. So let us be clear. The faith that we profess is not a mere nod to God. As James says, even demons believe in God (James 2:19). Faith has feet. Real faith is put into action. It bears fruit. Real believers, not those who simply agree that there is a god, are slowly beginning to act like Jesus. First of all, they give him all the glory and honor that is his due. As it is his work that justifies us to God, we give him that honor. We do not believe that Jesus needs any assistance from us. Therefore, although works necessarily follow, or go hand in hand with faith, it is Christ who has saved us from sin and death. Our works neither save us nor give us any consolation that they do.
Christ alone is our peace. He has reconciled us to God, and did so without our help. As a result, we have access to God. There is no longer a wall between God and true believers. We are now in a corrected relationship and at peace with him because of Christ alone.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for tearing down the wall that had separated us from the Father. Amen.
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The General Epistles offers a series of 12 Bible studies based on Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, and Jude. The geographical locations of Biblical characters can symbolically refer to places we find ourselves with respect to our faith. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve Him better.