Thursday, March 6, 2008
Augsburg Confession, Article XX Good Works--Philip Melanchthon
“First, they teach that our works cannot reconcile God to us or merit forgiveness of sins, grace, and justification. We obtain reconciliation only by faith when we believe that we are received into favor for Christ’s sake. He alone has been set forth as the Mediator and Atoning Sacrifice (1 Timothy 2:5), in order that the Father may be reconciled through Him. Therefore, whoever believes that he merits grace by works despises the merit and grace of Christ (Galatians 5:4). In so doing, he is seeking a way to God without Christ, by human strength, although Christ Himself said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6).
This doctrine about faith is presented everywhere by Paul, ‘By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8).
…Consciences cannot be set at rest through any works, but only by faith, when they take the sure ground that for Christ’s sake they have a gracious God. As Paul teaches, ‘since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God’ (Romans 5:1)….
…Without faith, human nature does not call upon God, nor expect anything from him, nor bear the cross (Matthew 16:24). Instead, human nature seeks and trusts in human help.”