We do not receive forgiveness of sins because of love for God, even though this must follow. In Luke 7:47, Christ says, "Her sins, which are many, are forgivenófor she loved much." Christ Himself interprets this when He adds, "Your faith has saved you" [7:50]. Christ did not mean that the woman had merited forgiveness of sins by that work of love. Faith freely obtains God's mercy because of God's Word. The fact that woman came to seek forgiveness of sins from Him was truly to acknowledge the Messiah. To think of Christ this way, to worship Him this way, to embrace Him this way, is truly to believe. Christ contrasted the worship of the Pharisee with the worship offered by the woman. He rebuked the Pharisee because he did not acknowledge that He was the Messiah. Christ points to the woman and praises her worship, ointment, tears, and so forth. These were all signs of faith and a confessionówith Christ she sought forgiveness of sins. It is a great example. This moved Christ to rebuke the Pharisee, who was an honorable man, but not a believer. He admonishes him by the example of the woman. In this way, Christ shows that it is disgraceful for the Pharisee. While an unlearned woman believes God, he, a doctor of the Law, does not believe. He does not acknowledge the Messiah and does not seek from Him forgiveness of sins and salvation. (paragraphs 30-33)
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.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen