Question: Is there any way to escape punishment and be brought back into God’s favor?
Answer: Yes, to satisfy his justice, God himself, out of mere mercy, reconciles us to himself and delivers us from sin and from the punishment for sin, by a Redeemer.
Scripture: Isaiah 53:10-11
The second stanza of Martin Luther’s most famous hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, begins, “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.” In these words, Luther states the point that no work of any mere human can provide confidence before God. If it were left to humanity to save itself, no person would be able to stand before God with any confidence. Scripture clearly teaches all humanity has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that the wages of that sin is death (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Therefore, as a result of sin, all of humanity is guilty before God (Romans 5:12-13). And if left to earn our way back into righteousness before God, the answer to the catechism question would be a resounding “NO!” “But God,” two of the greatest words in Scripture, “shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” Luther’s hymn continues, “Were not the right Man on our side…Christ Jesus, it is He…And He must win the battle.” Our hope and confidence are not found in ourselves and our works, but rather, the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
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