Announcements for the week of June 2, 2013

13-06-02, Pentecost 2, BA-2013C

THE BOOK OF CONCORD
(Tappert Edition)

APOLOGY OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION

[ARTICLE IV. JUSTIFICATION]

269 Whenever good works are praised and the law preached, therefore, we must hold fast to these rules: that the law is not kept without Christ — as he himself has said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) — and that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). The teaching of the law is certainly not intended to abolish the Gospel of Christ, the propitiator. Cursed be our opponents, those Pharisees, who interpret the law in such a way that they attribute Christ’s glory to works and make of them a propitiation that merits the forgiveness of sins. It follows, therefore, that works are praised for pleasing God on account of faith, since they do not please him without Christ, the propitiator. “Through him we haveobtained access” to the Father (Rom. 5:2), not by works without Christ, the mediator.

270 In the statement, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17), we must realize that no one can keep the commandments or please God without Christ. So the First Commandment of the Decalogue itself states, “Showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:6), setting forth the most ample promise of the law. But without Christ this law is not kept. It always accuses the conscience, which does not satisfy the law and therefore flees in terror before the judgment and punishment of the law, “for the law brings wrath” (Rom. 4:15). But a man keeps the law as soon as he hears that God is reconciled to us for Christ’s sake even though we cannot satisfy the law. When faith takes hold of Christ, the mediator, the heart is at peace and begins to love God and to keep the law. It knows that now it is pleasing to God for the sake of Christ, the mediator, even though its incipient keeping of the law is impure and far from perfect.  271 In this way we must view the preaching of penitence. Though the scholastics have said nothing at all about faith in their treatment of the doctrine of penitence, yet we think that none of our opponents is so mad as to deny that absolution is the spoken Gospel. Absolution should be received by faith, to cheer the terrified conscience. (¶269-271)

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