From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
From this it is evident that we are justified before God by faith alone since by faith alone we receive forgiveness of sins and reconciliation, reconciliation or justification being something promised because of Christ, not because of the law. Therefore it is received by faith alone, although, when the Holy Spirit is given, the keeping of the law follows.
Pulling It Together: Most of us have been a part of group projects in school. Three or four people are assigned to a team to complete an assignment. Many times, one person does all the work while the entire group gets the credit. Two things stand out in such cases. One, is the rather amazing faith that the group has in one person’s resolve to get the work accomplished. The other, is that the one person would rather the others not contribute because they would likely bring down the grade. That person knows that his or her work will be sufficient to earn a good mark. The rest of the group knows it too.
In this same way, our efforts play no part in the forgiveness of sins and justification before God. When we have faith, specifically when we become sorry for our sins, believe in Christ, and are baptized, we are forgiven our sins and receive the Holy Spirit. We are now justified before God because of our faith in Christ, yet we desire to please God by keeping his commandments. Still, we fulfill them imperfectly and place no trust in our law-keeping. To do so, would be to cheat Christ of the honor that he alone deserves. He is our forgiveness, justification, reconciliation. Christ alone has earned our good mark with God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give my family and me absolute trust in your promise. Amen.
Come and See, unit 1 in the Word of Life Series, is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.