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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law – part 135

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1 Corinthians 6:9-11

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Stop, reader; you have not the whole of this sorites. For certain “sacraments” of this transference must be added, as when the hood is placed upon the dead. The blessings of Christ and the righteousness of faith have been obscured by these summations. We are not agitating an idle argument concerning the term “reward.” If the adversaries will confess that we are accounted righteous by faith because of Christ, and that good works please God because of faith, we will not debate much more about the term “reward.” We admit that eternal life is a reward because it is something due on account of the promise, but not because of our merits. We have shown above that justification is properly a promised gift of God. The promise of eternal life has been added to this gift, as testified: “Those whom he justified he also glorified" (Rom 8:30).

Pulling It Together

Some orders of monks placed their hoods upon dead bodies, indicating that their good works were transferred to the account of the deceased. But if the living cannot trust that their own works justify, how are the dead to know that the works of others have done so? Is the troubled conscience ever to find rest? Yes, there is a righteousness that we can trust. To know this incomparable peace, one must turn away from human arguments and traditions, and rely upon Scripture alone.

We confess that the unrighteous will never inherit the kingdom of God. We further admit that we were counted among the unrighteous until that day when we were washed in the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). We have obtained eternal life because of his righteousness, not by our good works or those of others. So, we see that it is the righteousness of Christ that is transferred to us because we have faith in him. Only when we confess this truth of Scripture, will our hearts and minds will be kept in peace (Phil 4:7).

Prayer: Help me to depend upon you alone, Lord, for righteousness and eternal life. Amen.

In Part 2 of Sola Scriptura, "The Norm of Faith" study shows how anactive view of the Word informs and guides our understanding of what Scripture says. In other words, it will talk about what the Bible means based on what it does. In terms of how we come to articulate our faith and our doctrinal teachings, to speak of Scripture as the "norm" of faith means that it is the standard against which our theology and proclamation are measured.

• Study Guide   • See also Sola Scriptura, Part 1: The Source of Faith

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