The blasphemy of assigning Christ's honor to our works cannot be tolerated. These theologians are now entirely shameless if they dare to bring such an opinion into the Church. One who knows why Christ has been given to us, and who knows that Christ is the Atoning Sacrifice for our sins, needs no further proof. Isaiah says, "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (53:6). The adversaries, on the other hand, teach that God does not lay our offenses on Christ, but on our works. Neither are we inclined to mention here the sort of works that they teach. The adversaries condemn the clear truth, whose defense is necessary for the Church and increases Christ's glory. Therefore, we easily look down on the terrors of the world, and we will bear with a strong spirit all suffering for Christ's glory and the Church's benefits. Who would not joyfully die in the confession of these articles, that we receive the forgiveness of sins through faith freely for Christ's sake, and that we do not merit the forgiveness of sins by our works? The consciences of the pious will not have sure enough comfort against the terrors of sin and of death, and against the devil tempting with despair, if they do not know that their confidence lies in the forgiveness of sins freely for Christ's sake. This faith sustains and enlivens hearts in that most violent conflict with despair. (paragraphs 81-85)
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.