The Lutheran's Confession
Helping Lutherans Reclaim Their Witness
Our faith in Christ has a constant companion!
When a Lutheran says, “Good works must be completely excluded from any question of salvation...” (Formula of Concord, Article IV, paragraph 2) there are many who would be quick to point to James 2 where it says, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (vs. 17).
We are certainly not going to argue with the Scriptures. We do believe that “faith is never alone but is always accompanied by love and hope” (Article III, p 11) We believe “that good works follow from true faith (when it is not a dead faith but a living faith), as certainly and without doubt as fruit from a good tree.” (Article. IV, p. 6)
We certainly do not dismiss or in any way try to “skirt around” the doctrine of good works. Instead, we understand it in the same way “as the Lord Christ and his apostles themselves explain it, that is, regarding the liberated spirit, which acts not out of fear of punishment, like a slave, but out of the love of righteousness, as children...” (paragraph 12).
What good news it is for us that we do not need to win God's favor! How wonderful that we do not need to spend one ounce of energy worrying about our own survival but we can devote our full energy and resources in giving thanks to God and in loving our neighbor as we are being so perfectly loved.
Rev David Wiist