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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Good Works – part 3

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Romans 3:26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

There have been writers who held that after the forgiveness of sins people are just before God, not by faith, but by works themselves. However, they did not think that the forgiveness of sins itself occurs on account of our works, and not freely for Christ’s sake.

Therefore the blasphemy of ascribing Christ’s honor to our works must not be tolerated. These theologians are without any shame if they dare to bring such an opinion into the Church. We do not doubt that His Most Excellent Imperial Majesty and very many of the princes would not have allowed this passage to remain in the Confutation if it had been brought to their attention.

Pulling It Together: God, who is faithful and just, forgives us of all sins and cleanses us from unrighteousness. He alone is legally and ethically righteous and honorable to forgive. He is the just justifier. But who does he justify? Who does he declare righteous? What is written? Does the just justifier forgive and cleanse those who have kept certain rituals, given sums of money, mustered up some kind of religious devotion without the aid of the Holy Spirit? The Scripture speaks of none of this. Faith is the word used over and again. The one who has faith in Christ is the one who is justly justified. Nothing else is added to the Word. This is why we say that we are justified by faith alone.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that your righteousness is available in this present time to all who believe in you. Amen.

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