THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
APOLOGY OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION
ARTICLE V: LOVE AND THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW
11] Christ was given for this purpose, that forgiveness of sins might be bestowed on us for His sake. He was also given so that the Holy Spirit might bring forth in us new and eternal life and eternal righteousness. Therefore, the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Spirit is received through faith. So Paul says that the Law is established by faith, and not made useless, because the Law can only be kept when the Holy Spirit is given. 12] Paul teaches, The veil that covered the face of Moses cannot be removed except by faith in Christ, by which the Holy Spirit is received. (See 2 Corinthians 3:14-18.) For he says, “Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:15-17). 13] Paul understands by the “veil” the human opinion about the entire Law, the Ten Commandments and the ceremonies. In other words hypocrites think that outward and civil works satisfy God’s Law, and that sacrifices and observances justify a person before God by the outward act (ex opera operato). 14] But then this veil is removed from us, (i.e., we are freed from this error) when God shows to our hearts our uncleanness and the hatefulness of sin. Then, for the first time, we see that we are far from fulfilling the Law. We learn to know how flesh is self-secure and doesn’t care. It does not fear God and is not completely certain that we are cared for by God. It imagines that people are born and die by chance. Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us. But when we hear about the Gospel and the forgiveness of sins, we are consoled through faith, we receive the Holy Spirit so that now we are able to think correctly about God, to fear and believe God, and so on. From these facts it is clear that the Law cannot be kept without Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Condensed quotations from the Lutheran Confessions from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone
for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen