From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
If they think that after they are regenerated they ought to be accepted on account of fulfilling the law, when would a conscience be certain that it pleased God, since we never satisfy the law? Accordingly, we must always go back to the promise, for by this our infirmity must be sustained. We must regard it as certain that we are accounted righteous for the sake of Christ, who is ever at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us (Rom 8:34). If any one thinks that he is righteous and accepted on account of his own fulfillment of the law, and not on account of Christ's promise, he dishonors this High Priest. It is incomprehensible that one could imagine that anyone is righteous before God if Christ is excluded as propitiator and mediator.
Pulling It Together
When people hear the gospel and believe, God cleanses their hearts and gives them the Holy Spirit. If we add works and the keeping of the law to the simple requirement of faith in Christ, we test God by seeking to undo what he has accomplished through Christ Jesus. Furthermore, it is a futile effort to gain righteousness through good works. I know when I have faith. How do I know when I have kept the law? Indeed, I cannot keep the law. No one can, and there is the problem. Thanks be to God that he has promised his grace and righteousness to those who have faith in Christ—not to those who have faith in themselves. No one is righteous before God unless it is Christ alone who does the justifying.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for keeping your promise even though I am undeserving. Amen.
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The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.