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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
This logic is altogether new. We hear the term “reward,” and are therefore to infer that there is no need of Christ as mediator, or of faith having access to God for Christ’s sake instead of because of our works? Who does not see that this is a befuddled assumption? We do not argue about the term “reward.” Our dispute is whether good works are of themselves worthy of grace and of eternal life, or whether they please God only because of the faith that apprehends Christ as mediator.
Pulling It Together: There is nothing worthy of forgiveness and the resurrection of the body to everlasting life, save the work of Christ. Imagining otherwise does great damage to Scripture and to troubled hearts and minds. The Word of God does not tell us to depend upon ourselves. Rather it teaches that we have a mediator in Jesus Christ. He is the one who stands between us and the Father, for we cannot stand on our own (Psa 130:3). Further, our own consciences warn us that this is faulty thinking. No matter how much good work we do, we know that it is never enough to merit the reward of heaven. We are always left wondering if we have done enough.
So, it is good that we believe in God instead of ourselves. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. Nowhere do we confess to believe in ourselves or to trust in our works.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for sustaining me through your Word, and through the promise of your forgiveness. Amen.
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