I was raised Roman Catholic. Now I’m a Lutheran pastor. But I didn’t just leave the Roman Catholic Church because I happened to marry a pretty Lutheran girl. Nor was my attending seminary part of the deal when we got married (my wife never went “semming”). So why did I leave the Roman Catholic Church? From the Council of Trent, Sixth Session. Chapter IX: “Against the Vain Faith of Heretics.”
“But though it is necessary that sins neither are remitted nor ever have been remitted except gratuitously by divine mercy for Christ’s sake, yet it must not be said that sins are forgiven or have been forgiven to anyone who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, resting on that alone, though among heretics and schismatics this vain and ungodly confidence may be and in our troubled times indeed is found and preached with untiring fury against the Catholic Church… no one can know with the certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God”
If we cannot boast with confidence and certainty that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), then God is a liar. With the united testimony of Holy Scripture and the Evangelical Lutheran Church, I will continue to preach with untiring fury the certainty of salvation in Christ Jesus by grace through faith alone. God does not lie.
“To [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name,” (Act 10:43).
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses (Act 13:38-39).
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (Romans 4:4-5).
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring–not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (Romans 4:13-16).
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:23-29).
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law (Romans 3:21-28).
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned (St. John 3:17-18).