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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law part 13

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Acts 13:38–39

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Again, this fulfilling of the law, or obedience toward the law, is indeed righteousness when it is complete. However, it is limited and impure in us. Accordingly, it does not satisfy God on its own; nor is it accepted for its own sake. Although it is evident from those things which have been said above that justification does not only indicate the beginning of the renewal, but the reconciliation by which we are also accepted afterward. Nevertheless, it can now be seen much more clearly that rudimentary keeping of the law does not justify, because it is accepted only on account of faith. We must not trust that we are accounted righteous before God by our own perfection and fulfilling of the law, but rather on account of Christ.

Pulling It Together

We are not only unable to keep the law, but if we trust our works as righteousness, we will find that we have been idolatrous. We discount the work of Christ when we trust as righteousness our own incomplete and imperfect works. Also, we diminish the complete work of Christ when we think that we must add our own works to Christ’s in order to be considered righteous by God. This is blasphemy. Furthermore, it leads to despair, for the heart will never be at peace with God so long as it wonders if it has done enough good to counterbalance sin. Christ has already accomplished the atonement for our sin. Be satisfied with his perfect work. We should add our works as obedient thanks, not as an attempt to justify ourselves to God. He is already pleased with us through faith in his Son. Think how happy it makes him, that we trust in his grace alone. 

Prayer: Thank you God for the grace you give through your Son so that I am free and forgiven. Amen. 

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