From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Mass
In contrast, due to the blessing of God, our priests see to the ministry of the Word, teaching the gospel with its blessings of Christ, and showing that the forgiveness of sins happens freely for Christ’s sake. This doctrine brings sure consolation to consciences. They also teach the doctrine of good works which God commands, and declare the worth and use of the Sacraments.
Pulling It Together
We have been saved by God’s grace—not by our good works or offerings of money or service. This salvation happens through faith in Christ. It is that simple. There is no need to keep score or balance a so-called ledger that keeps account of our sin. If we needed to worry about such things, our consciences would always be troubled. But when we do sin—we are, after all, sinners—we know that Christ Jesus forgives and forgives completely. No one is able to add anything to completeness. So, we cannot and need not add good deeds or offerings to something that God has already fully accomplished. For the person who believes in Christ, this brings immeasurable consolation. The person, however, who believes that she must trust in her own merit, will always have a trembling conscience.
Because we are forgiven and promised eternal life, we are able to freely give of ourselves without the need to add to God’s full grace. We are liberated—free of concern about sin, death, the devil, hell, or purgatory—to do what we were made to do: live lives that bring honor to God through good works and walking in the commandments.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me and setting me free to live life for you. Amen.
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The Reformation is a collection and summary of some of the key documents of the Reformation. Assembled and edited by the Rev. Jeffray Greene for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, it is meant to be a reference-resource for congregations and study groups, to familiarize laity with the scope and contents of these important texts. The length of this book has been kept brief to allow congregations to make it available to people at a reasonable price.