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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Justification, part 9

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Galatians 3:23–26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

God requires the righteousness of reason. Because of his commandment, the honorable works that the Decalog commands must necessarily be performed. According to Galatians 3:24: “So that the law was our custodian.” Likewise, “The law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient” (1Tim 1:9). For God wants those who are carnal to be restrained by civil discipline, and to maintain this, he has given laws, letters, doctrine, magistrates, penalties. This righteousness of reason, by its own strength, can work to a certain extent, although it is often overcome by natural weakness and by the devil goading it to obvious crimes. We cheerfully assign this righteousness of reason the praises that are due it (since this corrupt nature has no greater good). Aristotle rightly says, “Neither the evening star nor the morning star is more beautiful than righteousness, and God also honors it with bodily rewards.” Nevertheless, it ought not to be praised with reproach to Christ.

Pulling It Together

The law is a good thing. It teaches us how to interact with God and with each other. The law also provides necessary restraint on the uncivil elements of society so that good order may be maintained. This works—up to a point. We understand that more laws, attorneys, judges, and punishments do not make a better society. Better citizens make a better society. The law keeps us in check until something better comes along. Knowing that we have a system of law in place would never cause us to disparage public education and other programs for the improvement of the citizenry. We would hope education has an effect and the law is not necessary. We would anticipate that some, at least, would become good citizens upon whom the law was never enforced because they saw the good reason of keeping the law.

In Christ Jesus, something far better than a program of education has arrived. Before faith in Christ came, the law instructed us, but we are no longer under the law's tutelage. That kind of righteousness has been fulfilled in Christ, who through faith has made us good citizens of his kingdom.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for bringing me into the family and kingdom of your Son. Amen. 

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Five VBS Class Posters & Five Sticker Sheets

These glossy full-color 11"x 17" posters with the title "Welcome to VBS!" are designed for use in recording attendance for Vacation Bible School.  Five posters are included in each set, along with five color sticker sheets.  Days are numbered 1-5, to correspond to the standard weekday VBS schedule.


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