From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
But they are not fair judges since they omit the word “gift.” They also exclude the principal part of the entire matter. Instead, they select the word “reward,” and interpret it in a manner that does injury to both Scripture and the very use of language. They surmise that because it is called a reward, our works ought to be the price for which eternal life is due. These works, they contend, are worthy of grace and life eternal, and do not stand in need of mercy, or of Christ as mediator, or of faith.
Pulling It Together: Eternal life is a reward from God that is based on something very important: his promise. It is not based upon how much work we have done. God rewards our faith in him, not our trust in the things we do. We are justified before God because Christ is always our mediator. He alone has set the record straight. He declares us justified through our trust in his righteousness. Nowhere are we taught that Christ comes to us saying, “I tried to get you off the hook, but you are going to have to pay this fine first—and also do some community service.” Christ does not need our help. We need his help. We are always in need of his mercy and grace, the very things he promises to those who believe.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for including me as an heir of eternal life, through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.