16 Sep How a Person Is Justified and Concerning Good Works
“I cannot change at all what I have consistently taught about this until now, namely, that “through faith” (as St. Peter says) we receive a different, new, clean heart [Acts 15:9-11] and that, for the sake of Christ our mediator [1 Timothy 2:5], God will and does regard us as completely righteous and holy. Although sin in the flesh is still not completely gone or dead [Romans 7:18], God will nevertheless not count it or consider it.
Good works follow such faith, renewal, and forgiveness of sin [Ephesians 2:8-10], and whatever in these works is still sinful or imperfect should not even be counted as sin or imperfection, precisely for the sake of this same Christ [Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 4:7-8]. Instead, the human creature should be called and should be completely righteous and holy—according to both the person and his or her works—by the pure grace and mercy that have been poured and spread over us in Christ. Therefore, we cannot boast about the great merit of our works, where they are viewed apart from grace and mercy. Rather, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” [1 Cor. 1:31*; 2 Cor. 10:17*]. That is, if one has a gracious God, then everything is good. Furthermore, we also say that if good works do not follow, then faith is false and not true.” – (Martin Luther Smalcald Article III XIII 1-4)
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
-Pastor Darrin Sheek