From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
Ambrose says it well: “Grace is to be acknowledged; but nature must not be disregarded.” We must trust in the promise of grace, not in our own nature. But the adversaries act in accordance with their custom, and distort the judgments about faith which have been given in support of faith. We leave these thorny points to the schools.
Pulling It Together: Our nature wants to do it all, and only hopes that God will give us his grace. That is the wrong inclination. Do not trust in your efforts; do not trust the old self-reliant nature that thinks God cannot achieve justification but you can attain it if you only work at it enough. The old nature believes that if one loves enough, is joyous all the time, at peace, patient and kind toward others, is good, faithful, and self-controlled, that person will have earned God’s grace. It is the ultimate pride to think that God cannot do a thing but you can.
But the new nature of those reborn in Christ relies upon God’s grace despite our inability to produce the fruit of the Spirit. We confess that this fruit does not come from us but instead, as the term itself makes clear, comes from the Spirit. These are not the fruit of the Christian; they are the fruit of the Spirit. Because we cannot depend upon our being fruitful to merit God’s grace, we should depend upon him—for his grace is already abundantly present. Then, when he produces his fruit in our lives, we may simply be humble and thankful that God has done what we could never do.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me depend upon you to bear your fruit in my life. Amen.
This booklet provides a suggested list of Bible verses, prayers, and familiar worship texts assigned to various age levels, recommended for use along with Sola Publishing’s Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum series. The order of texts matches the suggested grade levels in Luther’s Small Cat Series: elementary-aged curriculum on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, also available from Sola Publishing.