Are good works necessary? Indeed! They necessarily proceed from and follow the Word wherever it goes according to the will of God, whether in the ministry of Christ Himself or the ones He sends to proclaim it on His behalf. Is there any greater good work than the forgiveness of sins and the creation of faith by the Word?
27 Furthermore, we teach that it is necessary to do good works. This does not mean that we merit grace by doing good works, but because it is God's will [Ephesians 2:10]. 28 It is only by faith, and nothing else, that forgiveness of sins is apprehended. 29 The Holy Spirit is received through faith, hearts are renewed and given new affections, and then they are able to bring forth good works. 30 Ambrose says: "Faith is the mother of a good will and doing what is right." 31 Without the Holy Spirit people are full of ungodly desires. They are too weak to do works that are good in God's sight [John 15:5]. 32 Besides, they are in the power of the devil, who pushes human beings into various sins, ungodly opinions, and open crimes. 33 We see this in the philosophers, who, although they tried to live an honest life could not succeed, but were defiled with many open crimes. 34 Such is human weakness, without faith and without the Holy Spirit, when governed only by human strength. 35 Therefore, it is easy to see that this doctrine is not to be accused of banning good works. Instead, it is to be commended all the more because it shows how we are enabled to do good works. 36 For without faith, human nature cannot, in any way, do the works of the First or Second Commandment [1 Corinthians 2:14]. 37 Without faith, human nature does not call upon God, nor expect anything from Him, nor bear the cross [Matthew 16:24].
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