Saturday, April 19, 2008
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 57-60)--Philip Melanchthon
"Christ's death and satisaction ought to be placed far above our purity, far above the Law itself. This truth ought to be set before us so that we can be sure of this: We have a gracious God because of Christ's satisfaction and not because of our fulfilling the Law.
Paul teaches this in Galatians 3:13, when he says, 'Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.' This means that the Law condemns all people. But Christ--without sin--has borne the punishment of sin. He has been made a victim for us and has removed the right of the Law to accuse and condemn those who believe in Him. He Himself is the Atonement for them. For His sake they are now counted righteous. Since they are counted righteous, the Law cannot accuse or condemn them, even though they have not actually satisfied the Law. Paul writes the same way to the Colossians, 'You have been filled in Him' (2:10). This is like saying, 'Although you are still far from the perfection of the Law, the remnants of sin do not condemn you. For Christ's sake we have a sure and firm reconciliation, if you believe, even though sin dwells in your flesh.'
The promise should always be in sight. Because of His promise, God wishes to be gracious and to justify for Christ's sake, not because of the Law or our works. In this promise timid consciences should seek reconciliation and justification. By this promise they should sustain themselves and be confident that they have a gracious God for Christ's sake, because of His promise. So works can never make a conscience peaceful. Only the promise can."