Justification and Salvation

We believe that our works cannot save us.  Rather, we are freely justified (declared innocent of sin and righteous) before God on account of Jesus’ perfect work for us.  For Christ’s sake the sins of all who believe in Him are forgiven before God.  Through faith in Christ we are saved from sin, death and hell (Romans 3:21-28, Galatians 2:16)

Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works.  People 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.  By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins.  God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight.  (Augsburg Confession: Article 4)

Our churches teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruit.  It is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God’s will.  We should not rely on those works to merit justification before God.  The forgiveness of sins and justification is received through faith.  The voice of Christ testifies, “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’” (Luke 17:10).  The Fathers teach the same thing.  Ambrose says, “It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving forgiveness of sins, without works, through faith alone.”  (Augsburg Confession: Article 6)