Bayern, USA, Deutschland

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Speratus and Augsburg Confession, Art. 4

For a number of months now, our Bible study class has been reading through the Augsburg Confession. We have spent several months reading the Apology's article 4. We'll be spending at least a couple of months continuing to plow through that lengthy, but essential, article.

Paul Speratus wrote a hymn in the 16th century entitled ,,Salvation unto Us Has Come." The LSB has 10 verses of this wonderful hymn. The German version has 14 verses. If you can read German, I encourage you to read this hymn in the original German -- it is simply a wonderfully written hymn.

Speratus' hymn is an excellent summary of Augsburg Confession, Article 4 (Justification): ,,Also our churches teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4."

Verse 9 (verse 8 in the German) of Speratus' hymn captures the Lutheran position and Melancthon's well-crafted article:

Faith clings to Jesus' cross alone
And rests in Him unceasing;
And by its fruits true faith is known,
With love and hope increasing.
For faith alone can justify;
Works serve our neighbor and supply
The proof that faith is living (LSB 555).

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