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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
For a terrified conscience cannot confront God’s wrath with works or love. It finally finds peace when it apprehends Christ as mediator, and believes the promises given for his sake. For those who dream that hearts become pacified without faith in Christ, do not understand what the forgiveness of sins is, or how it comes to us.
Pulling It Together: Everyone acknowledges that, “You can’t take it with you.” Common sense wisdom understands that our works have no eternal value. So why do some try to stack them up as having merit with God? Belief in God’s promises is what counts as righteousness.
You may be a very fine person but your decency and civic virtue will never afford you peace. For you know yourself far better than do those who think they know you. You know you are a sinner; and you know just how great a sinner you really are. You have come to realize that all your decency and hard work and virtuous deeds do not add up to anything of eternal value. They have not and never can purchase redemption and forgiveness. You sense it deep in your spirit. And it troubles your soul.
Our souls come to know peace when they have been quieted by Christ. When we take Christ at his word: that just as he does not count our so-called goodness for us, he does not count our sins against us. Instead, he covers the sins of all who believe—not of all who work harder. He forgives us and makes us righteous for the sake of what he has done—not because of what we do.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your free gifts of salvation and forgiveness. Amen.
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A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.