People are justified through faith when they believe that they have a reconciled God, not because of our works, but freely, for Christ's sake. This is the Gospel because Paul clearly teaches, "By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works." Now these men say that people merit the forgiveness of sins by these human celebrations. Paul says to the Galatians, "You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law." This means, if you hold that by obeying the Law you merit righteousness before God, Christ will benefit you nothing. God has presented Christ with the promise that, because of this Mediator, and not because of our righteousness, He wishes to be gracious to us. These men hold that God is reconciled and gracious because of the traditions, not because of Christ. So they take the honor of Mediator away from Christ. There is no difference between our traditions and Moses' ceremonies. Paul condemns Moses' ceremonies, just as he condemns traditions, because they were regarded as works that merit righteousness. So the office of Christ and the righteousness of faith were clouded over. He argues that the forgiveness of sins has been promised not because of our works, but freely, because of Christ if we receive it through faith. The promise is not received except through faith. (paragraphs 6-10)
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.