A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series December 26, 2010 - First Sunday after Christmas
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Luke 2:22-40 for the First Sunday after Christmas, December 26, 2010.
It is from The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V.
The peace of which Simeon sang was a gift from the Christ child, Whom he held bodily in his arms and received by faith. Now we sing with Simeon of that same peace as we too receive the body of Christ in the Divine Service. For in the body of Christ the Law has been fulfilled to give us peace with God.
51  Augustine well says, "All God's commandments are fulfilled when whatever is not done, is forgiven." Therefore, he requires faith even in good works. He says this to show that we may believe we please God for Christ's sake, and even our works are not worthy and pleasing of themselves. 52  Jerome, against the Pelagians, says: Then we are righteous when we confess that we are sinners, and that our righteousness stands not in our own merit, but in God's mercy. 53  Therefore, when starting to fulfill the Law, faith ought to be present, which certainly believes that we have a reconciled God for Christ's sake. For mercy cannot be received except through faith, as has been repeatedly said above. 54  Paul says in Romans 3:31, "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law." Here's what we ought to understand: People regenerated through faith not only receive the Holy Spirit, and have motives that agree with God's Law, but we ought also to realize that they are far distant from the Law's perfection. This point has the greatest importance by far, and we must add it to the argument also. 55  We cannot conclude that we are counted righteous before God because of our fulfilling of the Law. Justification must be sought elsewhere in order that the conscience may become peaceful. For we are not righteous before God as long as we flee from God's judgment and are angry with God. 56  Therefore, we must conclude that we are counted righteous for Christ's sake being reconciled through faith. . . .57  Christ's death and satisfaction ought to be placed far above our purity, far above the Law itself. This truth ought to be set before us so that we can be sure of this: We have a gracious God because of Christ's satisfaction and not because of our fulfilling the Law.
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