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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
So this is no small matter that we argue with the adversaries. We are not looking for useless nuances when we find fault with those who teach that we merit eternal life by works, excluding faith that apprehends Christ as mediator. There is not a syllable in the scholastics concerning this faith which believes that the Father is favorably disposed to us for Christ’s sake. Everywhere they maintain that we are accepted and righteous because of our works, wrought either from reason, or at least by the inclination of that love about which they speak.
Pulling It Together: We cannot reason our way to righteousness. Who has been able to determine, “In this way, I shall be a good person” and been successful in the enterprise? More importantly, even if one was able to be so good, would that goodness be acceptable to God? No, for the prophet tells us that our good deeds are like filthy rags to God unless we call upon the name of the Lord (Isaiah 64:6-7). Our reason cannot create new life; a better or spiritual attitude will not do it; nor will exhausting effort make us righteous before the Almighty. Yet, the person of faith is taken in God’s own hands and shaped into a new person. God smashes us to the potter’s wheel and makes of us whom he wills. The work is the Lord’s which he accomplishes in people who have put their trust in him instead of themselves.
Prayer: Smash me, Lord, and make of me what you will. Amen.
Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.