The Ministry

Faith alone justifies.  This is the chief article of the Christian faith, the article upon which the Church stands and falls.  No person is justified before God by his works—man cannot earn God’s favor even with his best deeds.  Faith alone justifies.

So, the question is: how do we get faith?  Do we create our own faith when we give assent to the Good News of Jesus?  Do we create faith when we invite Jesus into our hearts?  Do we create faith when we decide to follow Jesus?  May it never be so!  Any of these simply turn faith into another work, something that we produce and present to God as evidence of our own righteousness.

So, how do we get faith?  So that we may obtain this faith, God has instituted the ministry of the Gospel and the Sacraments.  These are the means—the instruments—by which the Holy Spirit is given, who is the One who creates faith in the heart.  This He does out of His own good pleasure, not on account of anything that we have done, not on account of any quality within us.

The Holy Spirit works through the means of grace—the Word of God, Holy Baptism, and the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood—to create and sustain faith.  By this faith, which is God’s gift, one is justified for Christ’s sake.