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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law part 19

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Hebrews 11:4–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Therefore we cannot conclude that we are accounted righteous before God because of our fulfilling of the law. In order for the conscience to become tranquil, justification must be sought elsewhere. For we are not righteous before God as long as we flee from God's judgment and are angry with God. Therefore we must conclude that, being reconciled by faith, we are accounted righteous for Christ's sake, not because of law-keeping or our works. This elementary fulfilling of the law pleases God because of faith. Because of faith, there is no charge of our imperfect keeping of the law, even though the sight of our imperfection frightens us. So then, if justification must be sought elsewhere, our love and works cannot justify. We ought to regard the death and satisfaction of Christ far above our purity—indeed, far above the law itself. His propitiation is given to us so that we might be sure that because of this satisfaction, and not because of our fulfilling of the law, we have a gracious God.

Pulling It Together

It will always be impossible in this life to do anything in an altogether pure manner. However unfulfilled our efforts seem to us, they are accepted by and pleasing to God if they are done with faith in Christ. This means that we have no faith in the works themselves or in our doing of them. They are simply offerings to God. Rather, our faith is in the completed work of Christ. Because we have faith and are certain that Christ satisfied God’s righteous commandments, we can also be sure that his Father is gracious and merciful toward us. Because God sent his Son to fulfill the law and save us, we know that God loves us.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving me faith. Increase my faith. Amen. 

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