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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Justification, part 22

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Romans 12:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

And the difference between this faith and the righteousness of the law is easily discerned. Faith is the latreia that receives the benefits offered by God. The righteousness of the law is the latreia that offers to God our merits. By faith God wishes to be worshiped in this way: that we receive from him those things that he promises and offers.

Pulling It Together

Latreia is the Greek word translated in the ESV as “divine service,” “divine worship,” “service of worship,” or “service” (Rom 9:4; 12:1; Heb 9:1, 6; John 16:2). It can also be translated simply as “worship.” Earthly righteousness or doing works of the law is a service that offers moral, civil, and religious deeds to God. We should certainly offer our whole selves to God (Rom 12:1). Yet, to imagine that this appeases God's wrath or earns justification and salvation is self-deception. Heavenly righteousness or faith does not offer anything to God but instead, receives merit from God because of Christ's offering on the cross. Having received God's mercy, forgiveness, justification, and sanctification, we ought to respond in obedience for his gifts. However, our obedience should never be construed as something that earns favor with God. Instead, because of the mercies of God that we receive through faith, we should be moved to offer our very selves—our entire lives—to God.

Prayer: Fill me with the power of your Spirit so that I may offer my whole self to you today. Amen. 

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