We tell godly minds to consider the promises, and we teach about free forgiveness of sins and about reconciliation, which happens through faith in Christ. Afterward, we add also the teaching of the Law. It is necessary to distinguish these things aright. We must see what Scripture says about the Law and about the promises. For it praises works in such a way that it does not remove the free promise.
Good works are to be done because of God's command and for the exercise of faith—confessing the faith and giving thanks. Good works are done in the flesh, which is not as yet entirely renewed. The flesh hinders the Holy Spirit's motives and adds some of its uncleanness to the works. Yet, because of Christ, they are holy, divine works, sacrifices, and acts belonging to the rule of Christ, who in this way displays His kingdom before this world. For in these works He sanctifies hearts and represses the devil. In order to retain the Gospel among people, He openly sets the confession of saints against the kingdom of the devil and, in our weakness, declares His power. Consider the dangers, labors, and sermons of the apostle Paul, Augustine, and the rest who taught the churches. These deeds are holy works and true sacrifices acceptable to God. They are Christ's battles through which He repressed the devil and drove him away from those who believed. (paragraphs 67-69)
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.