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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Justification, part 29

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1 Timothy 2:3–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

Now we will show that faith justifies. In the first place, readers must be reminded that just as it is necessary to maintain that Christ is mediator, it is necessary to defend that faith justifies. For how will Christ be mediator if in justification we do not use him as mediator, if we do not hold that we are accounted righteous on his account? But to believe is to trust in the merits of Christ, that God certainly wishes to be reconciled with us for his sake. Likewise, just as we ought to maintain that the promise of Christ is necessary apart from the law, it is also necessary to maintain that faith justifies. For the law cannot be performed unless the Holy Spirit is first received. It is necessary, therefore, to maintain that the promise of Christ is essential. Yet his promise cannot be received except with faith. Therefore, those who deny that faith justifies, set aside both Christ and the gospel by teaching nothing but the law.

Pulling It Together

Even our currency proclaims Christ alone. “In God we trust.” What is unwritten is that we do not trust in money or what it buys—or who does the buying. Yet when it comes to religion, we want to trust in the things we do, as though they can buy salvation. So we must be reminded that in order to receive salvation one must be reconciled to God, and that this requires a go-between. Someone must have earned the status with God to stand between him and sinners, or lawbreakers. There is only one on whose account we may be reconciled with God. Christ alone bridges the gap without our having done a thing, apart from the law. This means that we believe in what Christ has done and not what we do. Even if we wanted to get right with God through keeping the law or doing good works, we could not do so with out the help of the Holy Spirit. Yet the Spirit is not given except through faith and trust in Christ alone.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for not only paying the ransom for us all, but for being that ransom. Amen.

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