The Augsburg Confession
Below are the nineteenth and twentieth articles of the Augsburg Confession. These are what we believe and confess as a Lutheran congregation. When they say “they teach,” they mean our churches teach.
Article XIX - Of the Cause of Sin
Of the Cause of Sin they teach that, although God does create and preserve nature, yet the cause of sin is the will of the wicked, that is, of the devil and ungodly men; which will, unaided of God, turns itself from God, as Christ says in John 8:44: When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own.
Article XX - Of Good Works - Part 1
Our teachers are falsely accused of forbidding Good Works.
For their published writings on the Ten Commandments, and others of like import, bear witness that they have taught to good purpose concerning all estates and duties of life, as to what estates of life and what works in every calling be pleasing to God.
Concerning these things preachers heretofore taught but little, and urged only childish and needless works, as particular holy-days, particular fasts, brotherhoods, pilgrimages, services in honor of saints, the use of rosaries, monasticism, and such like.
Since our adversaries have been admonished of these things, they are now unlearning them, and do not preach these unprofitable works as heretofore.
Besides, they begin to mention faith, of which there was heretofore marvelous silence.
They teach that we are justified not by works only, but they conjoin faith and works, and say that we are justified by faith and works.
This doctrine is more tolerable than the former one, and can afford more consolation than their old doctrine.
Forasmuch, therefore, as the doctrine concerning faith, which ought to be the chief one in the Church, has lain so long unknown, as all must needs grant that there was the deepest silence in their sermons concerning the righteousness of faith, while only the doctrine of works was treated in the churches, our teachers have instructed the churches concerning faith as follows: --
First, that our works cannot reconcile God or merit forgiveness of sins, grace, and justification, but that we obtain this only by faith when we believe that we are received into favor for Christ’s sake, who alone has been set forth the Mediator and Propitiation, 1 Tim. 2:5, in order that the Father may be reconciled through Him.
Whoever, therefore, trusts that by works he merits grace, despises the merit and grace of Christ, and seeks a way to God without Christ, by human strength, although Christ has said of Himself: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John 14:6.
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