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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope part 34

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Romans 4:5–7

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

The doctrine of repentance has been entirely corrupted by the pope and his adherents, as they teach that sins are forgiven because of the value of our works. Then they try to make us doubt whether forgiveness happens. They do not teach anywhere that sins are forgiven freely for Christ’s sake, and that we obtain forgiveness of sins by this faith. As a result, they shroud the glory of Christ, deprive consciences of solid comfort, and abolish true worship, that is, the practice of faith wrestling with despair.

Pulling It Together

There is no hope for sinners who are denied true and complete faith in Christ. So long as they are cast back upon themselves, they are sunk—the lot of them. If their belief system calls them to an exercise of religious mathematics, it will never add up because they doubt the correct answer to the sum. Trying to add up their own goodness while subtracting their individual sins is futility and madness at once. The accumulation of a thousand lifetimes’ of good works and acts of religious devotion will never add up. Christ is the sum! Only Christ—never you—adds up to the value of your salvation. This righteous standing before God may only be apprehended with complete faith in Christ, never adding or subtracting a thing from Christ alone.

Prayer: I believe in you, Christ Jesus, for righteousness and salvation—not in my practice of religion. Amen.

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Joshua, Judges, & Ruth: Old Places, New Faces Series  The geographical locations of Biblical characters can symbolically refer to places we find ourselves with respect to our faith. The Bible is not only intended to give the reader knowledge about events and people in the past, but through these events and people, to inspire greater faith.


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