From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Peter cites from Isaiah 49:23 and 28:16: “He who believes in him will not be put to shame” (1 Pet 2:6). Therefore it is necessary that hypocrites be confounded, since they are confident that they receive the remission of sins because of their own works, and not because of Christ. Peter also says, “To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43). It could not be expressed more clearly when he says, “through his name,” and he adds, “every one who believes in him.” Therefore, we receive the forgiveness of sins only through the name of Christ, that is, for Christ’s sake, and not because of any merits and works of our own. This occurs when we believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake.
Pulling It Together
The whole of Scripture proclaims that forgiveness of sins is received only through faith in Christ. Those who suppose that God forgives their sins because they are good people, are led astray by their vain imaginings. Our sins are covered in the name of Christ, that is, because we believe in his offering for sin. This is what is meant by, “for Christ’s sake.” We are forgiven because of Christ, because of his redemptive work. It would be the height of vanity to imagine that we could add anything to the blessed work he has already accomplished.
Prayer: Give me the courage, O Lord, to proclaim your salvation. Amen.
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My New Bible is a five-session study for use in Sunday School at the presentation of the Holy Scriptures to elementary students. It introduces them to the layout and contents of their new Bible, shows them how to identify books and find verses, and gives them an overview of the major parts of Scripture.