We believe that, in order that we may obtain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith.1 This faith embraces Jesus Christ with all His merits, makes Him our own, and does not seek anything besides Him. 2 For it must necessarily follow, either that all we need for our salvation is not in Jesus Christ or, if it is all in Him, that one who has Jesus Christ through faith, has complete salvation.3 It is, therefore, a terrible blasphemy to assert that Christ is not sufficient, but that something else is needed besides Him; for the conclusion would then be that Christ is only half a Savior. Therefore we rightly say with Paul that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith apart from works of law (Rom 3:28).4 Meanwhile, strictly speaking, we do not mean that faith as such justifies us,5 for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ our righteousness; He imputes to us all His merits and as many holy works as He has done for us and in our place.6 Therefore Jesus Christ is our righteousness, and faith is the instrument that keeps us with Him in the communion of all His benefits. When those benefits have become ours, they are more than sufficient to acquit us of our sins.
1 Jn 16:14; 1 Cor 2:12; Eph 1:17-18
2 Jn 14:6; Acts 4:12; Gal 2:21
3 Ps 32:1; Mt 1:21, Lk 1:77; Acts 13:38-39; Rom 8:1
4Rom 3:19-4:8, 10:4-11; Gal 2:16; Php 3:9; Tit 3:5
5 1 Cor 4:7
6 Jer 23:6; Mt 20:28; Rom 8:33; 1 Cor 1:30-31; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Jn 4:10