From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Good Works
They explicitly state that they reject and condemn our Twentieth Article which states that people do not merit the forgiveness of sins by good works. They distinctly declare that they reject and condemn this article. What is to be answered about a subject that is so clear?
Pulling It Together: The gospel clearly teaches that people are forgiven for Christ’s sake. The Apostle Paul instructs us in no uncertain terms that we are not saved from sin and death because of our works. We can do nothing to deserve his mercy. Indeed, it is the undeserving who receive God’s merciful grace. Though we receive God’s free gift through faith alone, we are created for good works. So we should surely do such deeds even though they are of no merit in terms of salvation. These works are only what we ought to have done (Luke 17:10), but they do not make us deserving of salvation or the forgiveness of sins.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your free gift of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. Amen.
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The Life of Martin Luther is written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This nine-session adult study takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation.