第五课 信条四 称义

We begin this lesson by reviewing the first 3 articles of the Augsburg Confession.

❖ In Article 1 we tell the world who the one and only God is: God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

❖ In Article 2 we confess what the Bible says about all people: The Triune God created us in his image. This means God created Adam and Eve to be holy and righteous. We lost God’s image when Adam and Eve sinned. All people are conceived and born in a spiritually ruined condition. This is called original sin.

❖ In Article 3 we confess what the Bible tells us about God’s Son. God’s Son became a human being, like us, except without sin. Jesus became the God-Man in order to rescue us from sin and sin’s consequences. Jesus has purchased and freed us from our sins.

In Article 4 we will speak about justification. In Article 4 we tell the world that God freely justifies us “for Christ’s sake”. We also tell the world that sinners receive the benefit of what Jesus did for them through faith in Jesus. Because of Jesus, we believe and know that God is our Friend.

Our opening Scripture: Romans 4:25; 5:1

1] Our churches also teach that humans cannot be justified before God by their own power, merits, or deeds. Rather, they are freely justified for Christ’s sake through faith. 2] By faith we mean this: that they believe that they are both received into God’s favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. For by his death, Christ has paid the debt for our sins. 3] Thus God views the person who has this faith to be righteous in his sight (Romans 3 and 4).


Fact: Every world religion (examples: Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) teaches that God is naturally angry with us and not very loving towards us unless we do certain things in life that will cause him to accept us.


Read: Proverbs 16:25 - There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.


Read: Romans 2:14-15 读:罗马书2:14-15

THOUGHT QUESTION: Why do all people think they must work hard to persuade God to love them and to accept them?


Deuteronomy 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.

申命记25:11 人 若 有 争 讼 , 来 听 审 判 , 审 判 官 就 要 定 义 人 有 理 , 定 恶 人 有 罪 。

Justification is a legal term.

Justification is something a judge announces.

A judge condemns the person who has done wrong.

A judge justifies the person who is not guilty by announcing that the accused is innocent.



In a human courtroom, “to justify” means…


A___…to announce that a person is innocent of all charges


B____…to make a person to be innocent of all charges


Read Leviticus 19:2, Matthew 5:48 and James 2:10

读 利未记19:2,太5:48 ,雅2:10

Psalm 142:2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you”.

诗篇143:2 求 你 不 要 审 问 仆 人 ; 因 为 在 你 面 前 , 凡 活 着 的 人 没 有 一 个 是 义 的 。

Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

创6:5 耶 和 华 见 人 在 地 上 罪 恶 很 大 , 终 日 所 思 想 的 尽 都 是 恶 ,

Our conscience, if it’s still working, knows exactly what we deserve from God and that’s why the world (outside of the Christian faith) believes God to be generally angry with people.


THOUGHT QUESTION: According to the above scriptures, why do all people deserve to be condemned in God’s courtroom?


But there is good news for sinners.


Read: Psalm 130:3 [This verse is law.] This verse tells us that all of us are _____________.

读:诗篇130:3 [这节经文是律法。]这节经文告诉我们,我们所有人都_____

Read: Psalm 130:4 [This verse is gospel.] What does God have for guilty sinners? ________________

读:诗篇130:4[这节经文是福音。] 神为有罪的人预备了什么?_________________

THINK: Compare the phrase “to justify a sinner” with the phrase “to forgive a sinner”



Article 4 states that we “are freely justified for Christ’s sake through faith”.


Isaiah 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

赛53:66 我 们 都 如 羊 走 迷 ; 各 人 偏 行 己 路 ; 耶 和 华 使 我 们 众 人 的 罪 孽 都 归 在 他 身 上 。

Read: Romans 4:25 读:罗4:25

How can God remain just and fair, and yet declare the ungodly righteous?


When did God justify all people?


Read: Romans 5:1


How do we sinners receive this justification so that we are now at peace with God?


Read: Romans 1:16-17


The gospel is the truth that there is forgiveness and righteousness for all people in Jesus.

The gospel reveals that we receive Jesus’ righteousness and God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus.

The gospel saves us by leading us to have faith in Jesus.




Isaiah 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

赛55:11 我 口 所 出 的 话 也 必 如 此 , 决 不 徒 然 返 回 , 却 要 成 就 我 所 喜 悦 的 , 在 我 发 他 去 成 就 ( 发 他 去 成 就 : 或 译 所 命 定 ) 的 事 上 必 然 亨 通 。

THOUGHT QUESTION: Why does the LORD send out his Word so people may hear about Jesus?


Luther in his Smalcald Articles, said this: “Of this article (Justification) nothing can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth, and whatever will not abide, should sink to ruin…And upon this article all things depend which we teach and practice in opposition to the Pope, the devil, and the whole world. Therefore, we must be sure concerning this doctrine, and not doubt; for otherwise all is lost, and the Pope and devil and all things gain victory and suit over us.”


Because of the severe consequences of rightly understanding this doctrine, it has often been said that the doctrine of justification is the doctrine of the standing and falling of a church. If a church teaches correctly in this matter, there still may be weakness in its system, false teachings and errors in practice, but these things will adjust themselves by the grace of the Holy Spirit. But if the church errs on the point of how we “get right” with God, or how God “gets right” with us, that church is doomed to fall, no matter how strong it may appear on the outside.

因为是否正确理解这一教义的后果十分严重,常出现这样的说法:称义的教义是一个教会是否站立和跌倒的教义。如果一个教会在这件事上教导得正确,虽然在其理论体制上仍然存在弱点、教导上仍然有 不正确的地方、做法上仍然有错误,但这些东西都会被圣灵的恩典调整校准;但如果这个教会在我们怎样与神“恢复正常”,或神怎样与我们“恢复正常”方面犯错误,那个教会就注定要跌倒,不管它表面上看起来有多结实。

Analyze the following quotes:


Council of Trent – 1545-1563 Trid. Sess. VI, Can. 11:

特伦多大公会议– 1545-1563 Trid. Sess. VI, Can. 11:

If anyone says that people are justified either alone by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, or alone by the remission of sins…Let him be damned.


Pope Boniface VIII (Nov. 18, 1302)

教皇逢尼法西八世 (Pope Boniface VIII) (1302年11月 18日,)

“We are compelled with a firm faith to believe in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church itself and to hold that … outside of it there is no salvation or remission of sins…Furthermore we declare, say, define and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human being should be subject to the Roman pope.”


Review of Article 4 – About Justification

Prepare your answers so that you can help us to review Article 4 (About Justification) as we begin our next session.


  1. Read Romans 11:6


  2. What does this verse say about God’s “grace”?


  3. Yes or No Do your works have anything to do with your justification?

    是非题 你的行为与你的称义有任何关系吗?

  4. Where did your faith in Jesus come from…


  5. According to John 6:29


  6. According to Romans 1:16-17; 10:17

    根据罗1:16-17; 10:17

  7. According to Ephesians 2:8-9


  8. Who deserves the praise and thanks and glory for the fact that you trust in Jesus as your Savior from sin?


Consider these two facts


  1. Justification is universal: God has declared all people to be forgiven in Jesus.


  2. Justification is personal: God declaration blesses only those who believe in Jesus.


  3. Read John 3:16-18


  4. What words in these verses show you that justification and eternal life in Jesus is universal?


  5. Which words or phrases teach you that justification is personal?


  6. Article 4 says that we are freely justified for Christ’s sake through faith


  7. Which phrase makes it clear that justification is universal?


  8. Which phrase makes it clear that justification is personal?


  9. The Roman Catholics responded to the Augsburg Confession at the Council of Trent. The Council of Trent, Canon XI states this:


If anyone says that a man is justified either solely by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness or solely by the remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and love which is poured out into their hearts by the Holy Spirit and stays with them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the favor of God; let him be anathema (damned to hell).


Notes: The following is added here by the translator after consulting the author of this note.



The Roman Catholic Church teaches that we sinners are not justified freely by the gospel of Jesus. The RCC instead says that grace is not God’s favor, but an ability which God gives to sinners through Baptism and the other sacraments (The RCC has seven sacraments).


The false teaching goes on to say that those who have been given this grace; this ability to do good works, must now use this “grace” - [also called “infused grace” - grace poured into us] - so that they do good works to gain God’s favor and ultimately his welcome into heaven.


  1. Does this decree from the Council of Trent teach salvation by grace in the way the Bible teaches salvation by grace?


  2. Is the Roman Catholic Church a Christian church?


  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as the Mormons) teaches their followers this:


    “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all that we can do” (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23).


  4. Does this sentence from the Book of Mormon teach salvation by grace in the way the Bible teaches salvation by grace?


  5. Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a Christian church?


  6. Justification takes place entirely without our works or efforts. For what purpose have we been justified, according to Ephesians 2:10?


Reading Assignment for Next Session


Augsburg Confession


Article 5: About the Ministry[1]


1] So that we might receive this faith, God established the ministry of teaching the gospel and administering the sacraments. For the Holy Spirit is given to people through the Word and sacraments, the tools through which God works. 2] Whenever and wherever it pleases God, this ministry creates faith in the hearts of those who hear the gospel. 3] And the gospel message is this: that not because of our own merits, but for Christ’s sake, God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace because of what Christ did.

1] 为了使我们能接受这一信心,神设立了教导福音和施行圣礼的事工。因为圣灵是透过神的话语和圣礼——神做工的工具,颁赐给人的。2] 无论何时何地,只要神喜悦,这一事工都会在那些听到福音的人心里制造信心。3] 福音的信息是这样的:不是因为我们自己的功劳,而是由于基督的缘故,神使那些相信他们是因为基督的作为而被接纳进入恩典的人称义。

4] We condemn the Anabaptists and all others who believe that the Holy Spirit can come to people without the external Word, through their own preparations, thoughts, and actions.

1] Our churches also teach that humans cannot be justified before God by their own power, merits, or deeds. Rather, they are freely justified for Christ’s sake through faith. 2] By faith we mean this: that they believe that they are both received into God’s favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. For by his death, Christ has paid the debt for our sins. 3] Thus God views the person who has this faith to be righteous in his sight (Romans 3 and 4).

4] 我们谴责再洗礼派以及所有那些相信圣灵可以不通过圣经的外在话语,而只通过他们自己所做的准备,以及他们的思想和行为就能领受圣灵的那些人。


[1] The Unaltered Augsburg Confession by Glen L. Thompson © 2005 Northwestern Publishing House. Used with permission.