Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Living Faith Demonstrated in Good Works and Peaceful Hearts

Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.  (James 1:18)

When he says that we have been born again by the Gospel, he teaches that we have been born again and justified by faith.  For the promise concerning Christ is apprehended only by faith, when we set it against the terrors of sin and of death.  James does not, therefore, think that we are born again by our works.

From these things it is clear that James does not contradict us, who, when censuring idle and secure minds, that imagine that they have faith, although they do not have it, made a distinction between dead and living faith.  He says that that is dead which does not bring forth good works;* he says that that is living which brings forth good works.  Furthermore, we have frequently already shown what we term faith.  For we do not speak of passive knowledge,† such as devils have, but of faith which resists the terrors of conscience, and cheers and consoles terrified hearts.‡

Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V: Of Love and Fulfilling of the Law, 126-8

*  And fruit of the Spirit: obedience, patience, chastity, love, etc.
†  I.e., that merely the history concerning Christ should be known.
‡  The new light and power which the Holy Spirit works in the heart, through which we overcome the terrors of death, of sin, etc.

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