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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Justification, part 35

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Hebrews 4:14–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

Secondly, it is certain that sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ, as propitiator, according to Romans 3:25: “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood.” Moreover, Paul adds, “to be received by faith.” Therefore this atonement benefits us when we apprehend by faith the mercy promised in him and set it against the wrath and judgment of God. To the same effect it is written, “Since then we have a great high priest...let us then with confidence draw near” (Heb 4:14, 16). The Apostle pleads with us to approach God, not with confidence in our own merits, but with confidence in Christ as high priest. Therefore it requires faith.

Pulling It Together

Only the high priest could represent the people before God in the temple. But Jesus, the “great high priest,” represents us before the Father in heaven. We cannot represent ourselves. Instead, we rely upon Christ by faith. In doing so, we have confidence in him to draw near to God. There before the throne of justice, we receive mercy and grace instead of the judgment that had been our due. We discover this marvelous grace only because Christ Jesus mediates between his holy Father and us as the true propitiation or satisfaction for our sins. He brings no scapegoat to God for us (Lev 16:21-22). He is the scapegoat, the only offering for all our sins. This is our confession and we hold it fast through faith in Christ. 

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, give me grace to draw nearer to you today, not through any confidence in my own works but for your sake alone. Amen. 

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You Can Understand the Old Testament: Its Message and Its Meaning is an introduction to, and overview of, the Old Testament, exploring its meaning and its message for readers of today. Individual overviews and discussions of each book of the Old Testament are provided along with helpful maps, tables and charts as well as complete indexes of subject matter, biblical texts cited, and Hebrew words noted in the discussion. The book is aimed at students of the Bible, whether members of church congregations, pastors, or students in college or seminary. 


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