From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
This faith gives God the honor that is his own by receiving the promises. It obeys him just as Paul says, “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God” (Rom 4:20). Thus the worship and divine service of the gospel is to receive gifts from God, while the worship of the law is to offer our gifts to God. We can offer nothing to God unless we have first been reconciled and born again. This teaching brings the greatest consolation since the chief worship of the gospel is to desire to receive forgiveness of sins, grace, and righteousness. Christ says of this worship, “For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life” (John 6:40). And the Father says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matt 17:5).
Pulling It Together: Hope believes even when the situation appears hopeless. Abraham was confronted with an utterly hopeless situation. His son, who seemed to be the beginning of God’s guarantee of offspring, was to be sacrificed to God. Notice how bleak worship is when it is we who bring the gifts. Still, in that darkest, most desperate moment, the patriarch believed even when hope itself seemed hopeless. As the father was about to slaughter the son of promise, God spared Isaac’s life. Abraham’s worship was brought to life when God provided the sacrifice that Abraham never could. Even so, God has provided in his own Son the sacrifice that we could never offer. In God’s gift to the world is grace, forgiveness, and righteousness. Worship is truly worship when we receive these gifts from God through faith, even when our sins cause us to question if hope itself is hopeless.
Prayer: Help me to grow strong in faith, God, and give you the glory. Amen.
Family Matters is a nine-session Bible study that focuses on the first generations of God's people—Abraham and his descendants. It looks at how God's covenant promise sustained them as they navigated family relationships.