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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Justification, part 43

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Acts 4:11–12

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

“This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12). But the name of Christ is apprehended only by faith. Therefore, we are saved by confidence in the name of Christ, and not by confidence in our works. For “the name” signifies here the cause which is mentioned by which which salvation is attained. And to call upon the name of Christ is to trust in the name of Christ as the cause or price by which we are saved. God “cleansed their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). Therefore, that faith of which the Apostles speak is not idle knowledge but the reality of receiving the Holy Spirit and justifying us.

Pulling It Together

The Rymans are a pretty decent bunch of folks. You should have met my grandfather. He was a great man in my book. But salvation is not available to me in the name of Fred Ryman, nor in the name of Ryman—the whole of my lineage. Salvation is only available in the name of Jesus Christ. There is no other name under heaven by which I can be saved. That also means that my salvation did not come about because Mark worked with Jesus, my works added to his.

It is only God in Christ who cleanses the hearts of humanity. This purifying happens when we have faith and confidence that Jesus has done this for us, not when we possess a mere knowledge of Church history. When we call on the name of the incarnate God, trusting in the blessed name of Jesus Christ, there is a powerful work of the Holy Spirit in us that justifies our hearts before God. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of this trust and faith. Upon his name the salvation of the whole world is supported—the decent folks as well as those who are not so respectable.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making me part of your blessed family. Amen. 

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Who is Jesus? is a five-session study, meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord.


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