Salvation, the effect of regeneration by the Spirit and the Word, not by works but by grace through faith.
We firmly maintain the doctrine of justification by grace, for Christ’s sake because it is the chief doctrine of the Christian religion;58 it distinguishes the Christian religion from false religions, all of which teach salvation by works;59 this doctrine gives enduring comfort to penitent sinners;60 and this doctrine gives all glory to God.61
Both the Old and New Testament teach that a man is justified by faith alone. True believers in the Old Testament were not saved because of their words but only because they trusted in the promised Messiah.
Moses wrote that Abraham “believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”62 Paul elaborates upon this statement in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 and explains that even the Old Testament men were saved through faith alone. Today only true Christians, and not Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians, worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the only God who exists and grants eternal salvation to those who believe in Him. Many of the Psalms emphasize that salvation is completely in God’s hands. David wrote that “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”63
Habakkuk wrote that “the just shall live by faith.”64
The Apostle Paul wrote: “For we conclude that a person is justified (declared righteous)by faith-apart from the works of the Law.”65
Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Yes, by His grace you are saved through faith. It was not your doing; it is God’s gift. It is not a result of anything you have done; and so no one may boast.”66
Jesus made it clear: “For God loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.”67
Man does not come to saving faith in Jesus Christ by himself. By nature he is spiritually blind, dead and an enemy of God; and therefore by his own reason and strength cannot believe in Jesus Christ, or come to Him.68
It is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is true God, the third person in the Holy Trinity,69 to bring man to saving faith in Christ by imparting to him the blessings of redemption.70 The Holy Spirit converts man. Man does not convert himself.71 Without the grace, help and activity of the Holy Spirit man is not capable of making himself acceptable to God, of fearing God and believing in God with his whole heart, or by expelling inborn lusts from his heart.72
58 Acts 10:43, Acts4:12.
59 Gai. 5:4,5.
60 Acts 16:30, 31, 34; Matt. 9:2.
61 Rev. 1:5,6.
62 Genesis 15:6.
63 Psalm 32:2.
64 Hab. 2:4.
65 Romans 3:28; Romans 5:1.
66 Ephesians 2:8,9.
67 John 3:16. See "History, Christianity and Justification.” “Otten, op. cit. pp. 24-26. CNE, 2525-2530. "The Doctrine of Justification, by Kurt Marquart, CNE. pp. 1105-1111. "After Four Centuries on Justification," Paul Bartz, CNE, p. 1111; "Pope Paul and Justification by Faith," CNE. p. 1112; "Who Insists Upon Justification By Faith Alone?" CNE. p. 1113; "Justification—The Meaning of Justification: A Word Study," Herman Otten, CNE. p. 1115-1117; "The 450th Anniversary of the Apology," Raymond Surburg. CNE. pp. 1118-1121.
68 1 Cor. 2:14; Romans 8:7; Eph. 2:11. 9: 1 Cor. 12:1
69 Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 3:16; Acts 5,3,4; PS- 139:7-10; Heb.9:14; PS. 33:6; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 4:14.
70 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Tim 1:9; Rev. 22:17.
71 Jer. 31:18; John3:5,6; I Peter 2:9.
72 The Freedom of the Will, "The Augsburg Confession. Article XVIII.