I have been working my way, slowly, through the The Book of Concord. When I mean slowly I mean, a page or two here and there. I don't do marathon readings of the book, I just can't. My eyes start to glaze over. I'm still working my way through the aritcles about justification and it has been fascinating. I wrote a few entries back that it seems that Philip Melanchton worked really hard to say the following in as many different ways as possible: "you are justified through faith. Through faith you are justified. By faith, not works, has Christ justified you in God's eyes. You are forgiven through faith..."
Those words are such sweet nectar to me. I am a sinner, I sin constantly whether I want to or not, but through Faith my sins are forgiven. All of them. Each. And. Every. One. Of. Them. In this world of "you can't get something for nothin" that is a tough pill to swallow. I often find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I think that is why we still try and "make ourselves right with God" by any means necessary. I have to be careful here. I dont want people to think that I am saying one should not do things that are God pleasing (i.e. volunteering, or other good works). I think it is important to look at the second chapter of James, verse 14, 17: "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?... In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead." To the first part of that I can say this "yes, through faith I am saved, Paul says that over and over again through out his epistles. To the second I can say this: "faith is as faith does." Because I have faith and am justified I feel the need to do good works and minister to others through them. I don't have to do them, my faith is enough, but I want to do them because "faith is as faith does."