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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
Good works ought to follow faith. However, people use works in a far different way when they cannot believe with certainty that they are freely forgiven and have a reconciled God for Christ's sake. When they see the works of saints, they imagine in a human way that saints have earned the remission of sins and grace through these works. So they imitate them, thinking that through similar works they too merit the forgiveness of sins and grace. They believe that they appease the wrath of God and are counted as righteous through their own works.
Pulling It Together: “I promise that I’ll do better!” children declare to their parents when they have been caught in another transgression. When they grow up, they promise the same thing to their spouses. How much better we would fare if we truly believed that our parents cared for us, that our husbands or wives really loved us. So long as we believe that our familial or marital well-being depends upon ourselves, never depending upon the love of another, these relationships will suffer.
We carry the same baggage into religious affairs. So long as we think our relationship with God depends upon ourselves, it will also suffer. As long as we imagine that we make the difference with God, we will fail God—and ourselves. We should always depend upon the strength of God’s love for us when the expressions of our own love are weak.
When the people asked Jesus what work they should do in order to please God, his answer was plain and simple. Believe! That is the blessed work we should do for God. Other works will necessarily follow faith but when we fail in our efforts, as we certainly will, the only work that matters is that we still believe in God’s Son.
Prayer: I believe, Lord; help my unbelief. Amen.
Learning About Communion teaches the meaning of Holy Communion according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Fifth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. Lessons emphasize the sacramental promise of the forgiveness of sins conveyed to us in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This booklet was designed to be used as a Sunday School unit, or for classes to prepare students for their First Communion.