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Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law – part 145
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

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Romans 1:1-6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

We condemn the teaching of the adversaries that understands such passages of Scripture in either a philosophical or a Jewish manner, and so abolishes the righteousness of faith, and excludes Christ as mediator. From these passages they infer that works merit grace, sometimes de congruo, and when love is added, de condigno. They claim that works justify, and because they are righteousness they are worthy of eternal life. This error plainly abolishes the righteousness of faith, which believes that we have access to God for Christ’s sake, not because of our works, and that through Christ, as priest and mediator, we are led to the Father, and have a reconciled Father, as has been sufficiently said above. The doctrine concerning the righteousness of faith is not to be neglected in the Church of Christ, because without it the office of Christ cannot be comprehended. The doctrine of justification that is left is only a doctrine of the law. So we should cling to the gospel and the teaching of the promise which is granted for Christ’s sake.

Pulling It Together: There is a difference between justification and sanctification. Justification is that obedience to the gospel that hears and believes and trusts God’s promise. Sanctification is the obedience that results from such faith. The former saves; the latter does not. Faith hears and believes and is therefore justified to God. Then the Holy Spirit goes to work in the believer, producing the fruit of faith, good works and upright character. It is a false sanctification or holiness that imagines people can bear good fruit through their own efforts, without faith and the resulting power of the Holy Spirit. Such personal holiness or law-keeping gives no credit to Christ, while faith always clings to Christ, believing in the promise of a Savior instead of depending upon works and personal holiness. 

Prayer: Holy Spirit, stir up in me the fruit of faith. Amen.

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