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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
This faith cheers, sustains, and quickens the contrite, according to this verse: “Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Rom 5:1). This faith obtains the forgiveness of sins. This faith justifies before God, as the same passage testifies: “We are justified by faith.” This faith shows the distinction between the contrition of Judas and Peter, of Saul and of David. The contrition of Judas and Saul did not help because there was no faith added to apprehend the forgiveness of sins conferred as a gift for Christ’s sake. Accordingly, the contrition of David and Peter availed, because faith was added to sorrow so that the forgiveness of sins given for Christ’s sake was apprehended.
Pulling It Together
The witless child who does not believe his parents got him a birthday present, will never enjoy the gift. Perhaps he was sorry for having been a disobedient child but just could not accept that his parents loved him nonetheless. This was the state of Saul and Judas. They were disobedient but God still loved them. The gift of forgiveness was available even for them. But they could not believe, and lacking faith, they did not grasp the gift. Faith must be added to contrition, or repentance will never avail itself of the remission of sins. But for the one who believes, God justifies that person because of faith in him and his free gift of forgiveness for Christ’s sake.
Prayer: Lord, increase my faith. Amen.
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The Minor Prophets in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series is a twelve lesson study that peeks at each of the dozen books we call the minor prophets, books that are often forgotten or neglected. Yet, their messages are deeply relevant for today's believer. The prophetical books contain God's call upon His followers of every century. These exhortations are either calls to positive actions that honor God or warnings to stop attitudes and behaviors that dishonor Him. As we rediscover these profound words, we will be reminded of what it means to follow and obey God, as well as be challenged to live a life that glorifies God in greater and more significant ways.