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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Justification, part 50

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Matthew 7:24–27

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

In order that the subject might be made quite clear, we have so far shown with sufficient fulness, using both testimonies of Scripture and arguments derived from Scripture, that by faith alone we obtain the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake, and that by faith alone we are justified, that is, that unrighteous people are made righteous or regenerated. It can be easily judged how necessary the knowledge of this faith is because in this alone the office of Christ is recognized, by this alone we receive the benefits of Christ, and by this alone brings sure and firm consolation to pious minds. There needs to be doctrine in the Church from which the pious may receive the sure hope of salvation. For the adversaries give people bad advice when they teach them to doubt whether they obtain forgiveness of sins. How will such persons be sustained in death when they have heard nothing of this faith and believe that they ought to doubt whether they have received the forgiveness of sins? Besides, the gospel, that is, the promise that for Christ's sake sins are freely forgiven, must be retained in the Church of Christ. Those who teach nothing of this faith of which we speak altogether abolish the gospel. Yet the scholastics do not mention even a word concerning this faith. Our adversaries, following them, reject this faith. They do they see that, by rejecting this faith, they abolish the entire promise concerning the free forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of Christ.

Pulling It Together

Justification is no idle dream among Christians. The Church stands upon the promise of God in Christ Jesus. Otherwise, we have built the Church on sand. But the Church has built its house on the Rock (1Cor 10:4). Therefore, when the storms of life come, her people are sustained. This is why bishops, pastors, and doctors of the Church must faithfully teach the sure and certain hope of salvation in Christ alone. Even the creed speaks to this, saying that we believe in “the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” There is no need to make people doubt. Moreover, there is nothing reasonable about them professing such things while, on the other hand, doubting those very things. Great will be the fall of anyone who trusts in anyone or anything other than Christ and his work on the cross.

Prayer: Rock and Redeemer, on you alone I stand. Amen.

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