Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Not Because of My Merit or Work

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  (Col 1:13-14)

It is very certain that even though all the gates of hell contradict us, yet the remission of sins cannot be received except by faith alone, which believes that sins are remitted for Christ’s sake, according to Romans 3:25, “Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood.”  Likewise Romans 5:2, “Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace, etc.”  For a terrified conscience cannot set against God’s wrath our works or our love, but it is at length pacified when it apprehends Christ as Mediator, and believes the promises given for His sake.  For those who dream that without faith in Christ hearts become pacified, do not understand what the remission of sins is, or how it came to us.  1 Peter 2:6, cites from Isaiah 49:23 and 28:16, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.”  It is necessary, therefore, that hypocrites be confounded, who are confident that they receive the remission of sins because of their own works, and not because of Christ.  Peter also says in Acts 10:43, “To Him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”  What he says, through His name, could not be expressed more clearly, and he adds, “everyone who believes in Him.”  Thus, therefore, we receive the remission of sins only through the name of Christ, i.e., for Christ’s sake, and not for the sake of any merits and works of our own.  And this occurs when we believe that sins are remitted to us for Christ’s sake.

Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XIIa: Repentance, 63-5

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