Fagerberg, Holsten, and Eugene Lund. A New Look at the Lutheran Confessions (1529-1537). St. Louis: Concordia, 1988. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 6, “Justification - Man’s Restoration” Loc. 3319-3757.
Behind the emphasis on justification found in the Lutheran confessions is God’s demand that man live in a state of perfection. Man cannot do so, therefore justification by God’s grace is indispensable (Fagerberg 1988, Loc. 3324). This justification goes farther than any good deeds can reach, for it reconciles the man’s heart to God (Fagerberg 1988, Loc. 3328). “The Confessions deliberately oppose the nominalists, who taught that man’s powers were unsullied and that he can love God above all things “ (Fagerberg 1988, Loc. 3355). This is consistent with Scripture’s view of human fallen nature. It also asserts that if man were capable of perfection Christ would not be needed (Fagerberg 1988, Loc. 3368). Finally, the unregenerate will does not love God (Fagerberg 1988, Loc. 3373). Counter to our efforts at good works, justification by grace through faith indicates that God has restored our relationship with him as though there was no transgression (Fagerberg 1988, Loc. 3426). The defense of this in AP IV is quite extensive, as Fagerberg illustrates as well.
Because this justification is by faith, Fagerberg turns his attention to the nature of faith. On one level it is an act of the will but it is not considered a work. It is a confidence rather than an action (Fagerberg 1988, Loc. 3525). This faith, Fagerberg describes at length, is bound to love and good works as a causal element. It is the catalyst for all change, an overall shift often called regeneration (Fagerberg 1988, Loc. 3596, passim). Fagerberg will move on to discuss the sacramental view of application of salvation in the next chapter.