Scripture Text: Philippians 3:1-3
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
Therefore, Paul also says that righteousness is not of the law but of the promise, in which the Father has promised that he wishes to forgive, that he wishes to be reconciled for Christ's sake. This promise, however, is received by faith alone, as Paul testifies in Romans 4:13. Faith alone receives forgiveness of sins, justifies, and regenerates. Then love and other good fruits follow. As we have already said, we teach that people are justified when the conscience, terrified by the preaching of repentance, is encouraged and believes that for Christ's sake it has a reconciled God.
Pulling It Together: It is good to be reminded and to have the point driven home again and again. For we are easily led astray, imagining that we must do something to reconcile God, since we imagine he must be angry about our sins. But God has done it all. He has put to death our old natures through Christ’s crucifixion. He has regenerated us through his resurrection. “It is finished” (John 19:30). We receive this finished work of Christ through faith, no matter what others may insist, no matter what our own consciences imagine. All our confidence, all our hope, is in Christ alone.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the grace to live in your righteousness instead of my own. Amen.
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The Great Search is a Christmas program that tells the story of those faithful travelers who made the journey to Bethlehem that very first Christmas. With the help of modern inventions, the magi, shepherds, and angels go on a Great Search to find the Christchild. This program can easily be adapted for large or smaller congregations. The congregation participates in the program through the singing of Christmas Carols.
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