From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
Thus in Daniel’s sermon, faith is required (Dan 4:24). He did not intend that the king should only give alms, but he means everything pertaining to repentance by saying, “Break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed” (Dan 4:27). In saying, “break off,” he implies a change of heart and works, for faith would be required. Daniel proclaims to him many things concerning the worship of the only God, the God of Israel, and converted the king not only to the bestowing of alms, but much more to faith. For we have the excellent confession of the king concerning the God of Israel: “There is no other god who is able to rescue in this way” (Dan. 3:29). So, Daniel’s sermon incorporates two components. The one part commands a new life and the works of the new life. In the other part, Daniel promises the king the forgiveness of sins. This promise of the forgiveness of sins is not a preaching of the law, but a truly prophetic and evangelical voice which Daniel certainly meant should be received in faith.
Pulling It Together: Even the prophets of old required faith since they too conveyed the promises of God. Promises require faith because they involve trust in the one making the promise. The promises of God cannot be received in any other way than by the heart relying on the sure word of God. For the heart cannot trust its own worthiness. Accordingly, faith was demanded for there to be forgiveness and healing of the king’s sins. So, we understand that God calls us to faith and at the same time, that we are to practice righteousness. The two cannot be separated.
Prayer: Holy and mighty God, I repent of all my sin, calling upon your mercy through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
Personalities of Faith is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.