A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series December 11, 2011 - Advent 3: Gaudete
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Old Testament, Isaiah 40:1-11 for the Advent 3: Gaudete, December 11, 2011.
It is from The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII:B.
The voice crying in the wilderness prepares the way of the Lord by calling sinners to repent and receive the kingdom of God by the forgiveness of sins. This voice does not call the sinner to make satisfaction but invites him to be lifted up by being absolved.
B: Re the False Teaching of Confession & Satisfaction
Here people imagine that they can keep God's Law in such a way that they do even more than the Law requires [Romans 3:10-20]. But Scripture shouts everywhere that we are far away from the perfection that the Law requires. Still these people imagine that God's Law affects only outward and civil righteousness. They do not see that it requires true love for God "with all your heart" [Deuteronomy 6:4] and that it condemns all lustful desires in human nature. Therefore, no one does as much as the Law requires. Their imagination that we can do more is ridiculous. We can perform outward works not commanded by God's Law. Yet confidence that satisfaction has accomplished God's Law is empty and wicked. … Christ says about such works, "In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). Such works include certain fasts appointed not for restraining the flesh, but so that honor may be given to God, as Scotus says, and so that eternal death be made up for. Likewise, such works include a fixed number of prayers, a fixed measure of alms when they are offered in worship by the outward act (ex opere operato), giving honor to God, and making up for eternal death. For they assign satisfaction to these works by the outward act because they teach that they benefit even those who are in mortal sin. … They do not serve to reconcile God's displeasure, contrary to what the adversaries say. … To these works the honor is assigned of being a price paid instead of eternal death. 48  They are preferred over the works of God's commandments. So God's Law is clouded over in two ways. One, because satisfaction is thought to be rendered to God's Law by means of outward and civil works. The other, because human traditions are added, whose works are preferred over the works of the divine Law. 49  In the second place, repentance and grace are clouded over. Eternal death is not atoned for by this payment of works because it is idle and does not taste of death in the present life. Something else must be set up against death when it tests us. For just as God's anger is overcome through faith in Christ, so death is overcome through faith in Christ. Just as Paul says, "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57). He does not say, "Who gives us the victory if we set up our satisfactions against death."
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