From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
In the schools the boast is also made that our good deeds work by virtue of Christ’s passion. Well said! But why say nothing about faith? For Christ is a propitiation, as Paul says, “through faith” (Rom 3:25). When timid consciences are comforted by faith, and are convinced that our sins have been blotted out by the death of Christ, and that God has been reconciled to us on account of Christ’s suffering, then indeed, the suffering of Christ is a benefit to us. If the doctrine concerning faith is omitted, it is vain to claim that works benefit us by virtue of Christ’s passion.
Pulling It Together
Jesus satisfied God’s requirement of keeping the law perfectly. Moreover, he paid the penalty for the sins of those who cannot keep the commandments. In other words, he paid the price for us all, since none of us can keep the law. Those who rely upon their law keeping are “under a curse” because they cannot continue to fulfill God’s law. People who trust in their religiosity will never be righteous and justified to God. Instead, we must trust Christ who bore the curse of the law for us. Yet while we try to keep the law, as we should, but fail, the law will accuse us of not measuring up and our consciences can become terrified of the curse. So we must always trust in Christ who suffered and died to fulfill the law (Matt 5:17), for, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for redeeming me from the curse of the law. Amen.
Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.