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Concerning Justification, part 32
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions


Psalm 32:1–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

That We Obtain Remission of Sins by Faith Alone in Christ

We think that even the adversaries acknowledge that in justification the forgiveness of sins is necessary first. For we all are under sin. Therefore we reason as follows:

To receive the forgiveness of sins is to be justified, according to Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” We receive the forgiveness of sins solely by faith in Christ, not through love, nor because of love or works, although love follows faith. Therefore we are justified by faith alone, understanding justification as the making of a righteous person from an unrighteous person—that one is regenerated.

Pulling It Together: It is easy to admit that everyone is a sinner, since we see the evidence in the news, in the lives of those we love, and certainly in our own lives. Scripture also plainly states that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Because sin has caused a fall so great as to remove us from the presence of God's glory, our sin needs covered. Adam and Eve understood this and covered themselves with fig leaves after they sinned (Gen 3:7). Notice how Adam's and Eve's works were refused by God? They tried to cover their sins but even they understood that their figgy outfits were inadequate. So they hid themselves among the trees of the garden (Gen 3:8).

Try as we might, our own efforts are unequal to the task. It is God alone who is able to cover our sins. So, from the skins of the very animals Adam was charged to care for, God made them a more lasting covering (Gen 3:31). Justification is that blessed relationship with God that happens when one's sin is covered. It is the forgiving and covering of sins that only God can do for us. “Blessed is the one...whose sin is covered” (Psa 32:1).

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to do all I can to please you but rely upon you alone for the covering of my sin. Amen. 

Genesis "Old Places, New Faces" Series   Places have to do with geography. In the Bible, we find God's people in many different places, both physically and spiritually, in their relationship to the Creator and Savior. We, like them, journey through many lands in our Christian walk. We move from chaos to order, from Ur to Canaan, and from obedience to disobedience. 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.

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