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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
We are not ignorant of how distant this doctrine is from the judgment of reason and of the law. Nor are we unaware that the doctrine of the law concerning love makes a much greater show; for it is human wisdom. But we are not ashamed of the foolishness of the gospel. For the sake of Christ's glory we defend this, and beseech Christ, by his Holy Spirit, to aid us that we may be able to make this clear and manifest.
Pulling It Together: Everyone gets a trophy. That is the way of things in children’s sports these days. Nobody is a loser, so long as they join the team. People are divided on their opinions about this approach. Some people think children need to earn a trophy while others have the view that even if the team never wins, all should go home with a trophy because they made the effort. Brands of Christianity are like this children’s sports analogy. There are some who believe that only those whose religious efforts are successful should be rewarded with eternal life. Others believe that simply being on the team, being a believer in Jesus Christ, is what counts.
The wisdom of the world concludes that effort makes the difference. Only winners should be rewarded with eternal life. So, some believe that human righteousness makes the difference with God.
While we should press on for the prize of resurrection from the dead (Phil 3:14), Lutherans confess that this heavenly prize is apprehended through faith in Jesus Christ, not through their efforts. This is foolishness to the worldly mind, but to the spiritual mind, it is the power of God for salvation. “The righteous shall live by faith” in the righteousness of God instead of by trust in their own righteousness, though the world considers them losers.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for saving me and giving me your righteousness so that I do not need to depend upon myself. Amen.
God's Reluctant Leaders is a nine-session Bible Study that focuses on the stories of three biblical characters: Jonah, Gideon, and Moses. Sessions explore how God works to create faith within those whom He calls to serve His mission. The study is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. It would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings, or in an informal small-group setting.