2 Timothy 3:14–15
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
A sophist may object that righteousness is in the will, and therefore cannot be ascribed to faith, which is in the intellect. A reply is easy, since even the scholastics acknowledge that the will commands the intellect to assent to the Word of God. We also say quite clearly: The terrors of sin and death are not only thoughts of the intellect but also horrible turbulence of the will fleeing God's judgment. Even so, faith is not only knowledge in the intellect, but also confidence in the will. It desires to receive what the promise offers, namely, reconciliation and forgiveness of sins. Scripture uses the term "faith" this way as Paul testifies in the following sentence. “Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Rom 5:1).
Pulling It Together: We cannot reason our way to God or become justified before him because we have come to some intellectual understanding of divinity. Our sinful natures alone, as well as subsequent sins, have alienated us from God. Some try to deny this, but they know better since they cannot escape the fear of sin and death. So, what are we to do in order to be justified? The answer is: nothing. We cannot do a thing about our damned situation. There is however, someone who has done something about our condition, and the credit for what he has accomplished has been transferred to our account. When we admit our sinful condition, and desire to receive God’s forgiveness and to be reconciled to him, we may enjoy peace with, instead of the fear of, God. This happens when we believe the testimony of Scripture and have faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. This is why we confess that people are justified to God through faith alone.
Prayer: Almighty God, increase my faith, through Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Amen.
The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.
The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven, and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power.” (1 Cor 6:14)
A Leader's Guide is available.