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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law part 83

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John 15:5–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Yet Peter says that hearts are purified by faith (Acts 15:9). When this entire passage is examined, it presents a meaning that harmonizes with the rest of Scripture—that if hearts are cleansed, and then alms are added outwardly, that is, all the works of love, they are then entirely clean, within and without. Why is the entire discourse not given? There are many parts of the argument, some which command faith, and others works. An honest reader would not pick out the commands concerning works and omit the passages about faith.

Pulling It Together

We are to produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt 3:8; Luke 3:8). Yet we do not pin our hope of salvation upon these works. The old hymn by Edward Mote says, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.” To that we might add that we trust in nothing more. The fruits of repentance show that we have faith (James 2:18). All the while, we must trust in God for salvation through Christ alone, and in his Holy Spirit for the sap that produces the fruit.

Prayer: May your will be done in me, Lord, so that my life may yield the fruit of your love. Amen. 

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