Monday, April 14, 2008
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 26-29)--Philip Melanchthon
"But someone may say, 'Since we confess that love is a work of the Holy Spirit, and since it is righteousness, because it is the fulfilling of the Law, why do we not teach that love justifies?' To this we must reply: In the first place, it is certain that we do not receive forgivenss of sins through our love or for the sake of our love, but only for Christ's sake, by faith. Faith alone looks upon the promise. It knows that because of the promise, it is absolutely certain that God forgives, because Christ has not died in vain. Such faith overcomes the terrors of sin and death. If anyone doubts whether sins are forgiven him, he dishonors Christ. For he judges that his sin is greater or more effective than Christ's death and promise, even though Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more' (Romans 5:20). This means that mercy is more comprehensive than sin. If anyone thinks he receives forgiveness of sins because he loves, he dishonors Christ and will discover in God's judgment that this confidence in his own righteousness is wicked and useless. Therefore, it is necessary that faith alone reconciles and justifies."