During days of difficulties we can have hope because God has promised that "the Lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love." Hope expects what God has promised.
We cannot obey the Law, unless we have been born again through the Gospel. We cannot love God, unless we have received the forgiveness of sins. For as long as we feel that He is angry with us, our human nature runs away from His anger and judgment. If anyone should object that this view of faith (which desires those things offered by the promise) becomes confused with hope, we answer as follows. Hope expects promised things, and hope and faith cannot be separated in reality. Such needless debate takes place in the schools. The Epistle to the Hebrews defines faith as "the assurance of things hoped for" (Hebrews 11:1). Yet if anyone wants a distinction between faith and hope, we say that the object of hope is properly a future event, but that faith is concerned with future and present things. Faith receives the forgiveness of sins offered in the promise in the present.
From these statements we hope that it is clear both what faith is and that we are justified, reconciled, and regenerated through faith. We are compelled to hold on to these teachings because we want to teach the righteousness of the Gospel, not the righteousness of the Law. For those who teach that we are justified by love teach the righteousness of the Law. They do not teach us in justification to trust in Christ as Mediator. (paragraphs 190-192)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.