Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law, part 73
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Scripture Text: Exodus 20:1-6
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
We must regard the preaching of repentance in this way. Although the scholastics have said nothing at all about faith in their handling of the doctrine of repentance, we think that none of our adversaries is so mad as to deny that absolution is a voice of the gospel. Absolution should be received by faith, so that it may cheer the terrified conscience.
Pulling It Together: We should have no other gods before the Lord (Exodus 20:3). He alone is God (Deuteronomy 6:4). We think that in the churches today, idols are a thing of the past. Take care; a false god does not have to be a statue of wood, stone, or metal. An idol does not even have to be money — though the cult of wealth is very much among us and in us. Luther teaches us in the Small Catechism that “the greatest idolatry” is when the “conscience...seeks help, comfort, and salvation in its own works and presumes to wrest heaven from God” (Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1959, 367.).
Do you truly trust in Christ to justify you or do you fear, love, and trust your own efforts at religion? Of whom do you seek forgiveness? When the law convicts and leads you to repentance, be sure to repent, but be more sure to trust in Christ for absolution. Do not think that your good works have justified you to God, for that would be to trust in yourself instead of having faith in God. There is the great danger: that thing you trust in most is your real and truest god.
Prayer: Crush me with the hammer of your Word, Lord, so that grace may have its way with me. Amen
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