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Concerning Justification, part 20
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions


Philippians 3:8–9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

Accordingly, this particular faith (by which a person believes that individual sins are forgiven because of Christ, and that on account of him, God is reconciled and propitious) obtains forgiveness of sins and justifies us. And because in repentance, that is in a terrified conscience, faith comforts and encourages hearts, regenerates us and brings the Holy Spirit so that then we are able to fulfill God's law—specifically, to love God, truly fear God, really be confident that God hears prayer, obey God in all afflictions, kill concupiscence, etc. So, because faith freely receives the forgiveness of sins and sets Christ as the mediator and propitiator against God's wrath, it does not present our merits or our love. This faith is the true knowledge of Christ, making use of the benefits of Christ; it regenerates hearts and precedes the fulfilling of the law. Not a syllable about this faith exists in the doctrine of our adversaries. Therefore we find fault with them, both because they teach only the righteousness of the law, and because they do not teach the righteousness of the gospel, which proclaims the righteousness of faith in Christ.

Pulling It Together: Ironically, so-called personal faith does not rely upon personal works but upon the person of Christ. It is solely because of him that God is reconciled and made favorable toward us. We are forgiven and made righteous because of Christ alone. We confess this to be true; we believe it is so, therefore we do not work to make it happen. Instead, we have faith that God in Christ has made it to be true. This same faith in Christ conveys his Spirit who compels us to believe all the more. He changes our natural inclinations so that we are enabled to keep the law of God—to pray to a Father whom we now believe genuinely loves us and cares for us, and to love and worship him more each day no matter what each day brings. This faith in Christ precedes good works because it is the true knowledge of him upon whom all righteousness and righteous deeds depend. 

Prayer: Help me depend more upon you than myself, Lord, and believe that your righteousness is at work within me. Amen. 

Teach Us to Pray is an eight-lesson curriculum based around Luther's Small Catechism.  Each lesson has a Bible study connected to the article of the Lord's Prayer covered. A section entitled "About Prayer"  teaches students helpful items about a solid prayer life and a prayer assignment for the coming week.  A major goal of this material is to help kids experience prayer and practice it in a variety of ways. This book could be used as part of a larger Confirmation series, or as a "pre-confirmation" Sunday School series for Jr. High and Middle School youth.

Leader's Guide

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