From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
These statements, simply spoken, contain nothing erroneous, but they are distorted by our opponents, who attach to them godless opinions. For it does not follow that works merit the forgiveness of sins that causes regenerate hearts, that works are a propitiation, that works please without Christ as propitiator, or that works do not need Christ as propitiator. James says nothing of these things. Nevertheless, the adversaries shamelessly infer all these things from the words of James.
Pulling It Together: Any keeping of the law requires God’s help. Before we can ever keep the law in a way that God finds acceptable, we must have faith in Christ. For the works of the old nature are ruled by human intention instead of the will of God. Instead of calling upon God for help, we would be trying to fulfill the law in our own power. It would be as though the branches were separated from the vine, yet were and expected to bear fruit. We must first be born again through faith, the old nature being regenerated so that we are able to work with Christ, or to have Christ’s life-giving Spirit working in us. Apart from him, we can do nothing good. However, by abiding in him or being attached to Christ through faith, acceptable works or fruit will grow because we are attached to the vine that gives life to the branches.
Prayer: Thy will be done, Lord. Amen.
John is the fourth book in the "Old Places, New Faces" series. Twelve studies explore the profound metaphors of the Gospel of John. This study guide will make the story of Christ alive and relevant for today's readers.