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1 Corinthians 1:18-21
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
We, on the other hand, call consciences away from the law to the gospel, and from confidence in their own works to confidence in the promise and Christ. For the gospel presents Christ to us, and promises the forgiveness of sins freely for Christ’s sake. This promise bids us to trust that for Christ’s sake we are reconciled to the Father, not because of our own contrition or love. For there is no other mediator or propitiator than Christ. Nor can we do the works of the law unless we have first been reconciled through Christ. Even if we could do anything, we must believe that we obtain the remission of sins because of Christ, the mediator and propitiator, not because of these works.
Pulling It Together
We preach and confess that Christ died for our sins and saves all those who believe (1 Cor 1:21). The world responds, “What kind of babbling is this” (Acts 17:18)? We seem foolish to sophisticated religion but we are wise in Christ (1 Cor 4:10). “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).
Religion contends that there must be something a person has to do in order to be forgiven. Laws must be kept, rituals observed. Indeed. We concede to religion’s point, and say that Jesus Christ has done all this, even dying for the sins of all people. He has accomplished everything required by the law. The incarnate God has done this for us, so that believing, we may be saved.
“Foolishness!” religion cries, and redoubles its efforts. Still, being fools for Christ sake (1 Cor 4:10), we rest and trust in the work of God, believing his promise that we receive forgiveness of sins, justification, and eternal life, not because of anything that we do but, because of Christ. Only his work on the cross is the atonement for our sins, and he alone our intermediary with God.
Prayer: Though the world calls it babbling, provoke me, O God, to confess the truth of Jesus and the resurrection. Amen.
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By What Authority is a book that confronts churches who no longer believe their own message.