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Starting this Today, every Thursday is going to be a little devotional reading and writing from the Book of Concord. This is just to mix things up a little bit and get everyone into reading through the Confessions of the Lutheran Church. Today we are looking at the article of Justification.
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, written in 1531 as a response to the Confutation of the Roman Catholic Church which was a response to the Augsburg Confession in 1530. In the Apology, it is written concerning the article of justification asserting, "In this controversy the main doctrine of Christianity is involved; when it is properly understood, it illumines and magnifies the honor of Christ and brings to pious consciences the abundant consolation that they need" (Apology IV.2). The article of justification is the doctrine upon which the church stands and falls because it is the article that asserts or proclaims the grace or Jesus for our salvation which is received by faith alone, without the works and merit of man. The Augsburg Confession puts it plainly saying, "It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ's sake, through faith, when we believe that CHrist suffered for us and that for His sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us" (Augsburg Confession IV.1-2). Justification is not man's work, but Jesus work. Fallen and sinful man is forgiven, blameless, and righteous before our Heavenly Father, not because we've done something noticeable, but because Jesus is merciful and gracious and died for us on the cross and rose again for our justification. When this doctrine is taught and preached purely, and received gladly, it illumines the work of Jesus as the savior of all sinners, no matter the sins they have committed or will commit. Justification is that doctrine that takes salvation out of man's hands and places them in the hands of Jesus.
Justification is a simple doctrine that must be studied daily. It is written about throughout the Book of Concord. Let us then never tire of studying it and digesting it's comforting words so that we may have assurance that our eternal life is not our work, but Jesus' work. Let us study it so that we may have a clean conscience and a calm heart.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silent, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the voice of your Savior Jesus who justifies you and will usher you home to be with Him, Amen.