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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law part 134

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Romans 14:8-12

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Our adversaries not only ascribe to works a worthiness of grace and eternal life, they also falsely state that they have superfluous merits that they can grant to others for justification, as when monks sell the merits of their orders to others. They heap up these incongruous conclusions in the manner of Chrysippus wherever the word “reward” is heard. For example, it is called a reward; therefore we have works as a price for which a reward is due; therefore works please by themselves, and not for the sake of Christ as mediator; and since one has more merits than another, therefore some have superfluous merits; those who merit them can bestow their merits upon others.

Pulling It Together

Chrysippus was a Greek philosopher who championed propositional logic. If this was the case, then the result would logically be something else. This if-then logic was applied to the term “reward.” If there is a reward, then there must be a price for the reward. Not only was this logic carried in the wrong direction, it was carried to absurd conclusions. The opponents’ conclusions were, that if one pays for his own reward, he might pay more than is due. Therefore, the credit must be transferable to others. This is an argument from human logic instead of from the mind of God. Scripture says that each person is accountable to God. So, the logic of God in Scripture runs as follows. The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23); since all have sinned, all will die; but Christ has overcome sin and death, and gives his victory as a reward to all who believe (1 Cor 15:57). 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for paying the debt that I can never pay. Amen.

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