I had a professor who had a weird way of grading. You received a C as long as you managed a C or better on all tests. If your exam average was at the A or B level you could write a paper on an approved topic. The grade of the paper determined your final grade. The professor rejected my paper-not enough sources, although I exhausted references in the Library of Congress. My final exam score would ruin the curve and one-half of the class would fail, so he acknowledged that my paper was a decent paper and he gave me a B.
This passage and verse were key to Luther’s attempt to reform the Church, an attempt which started the Reformation. At the time, like my professor, having faith only qualified one to earn salvation through works prescribed by the law, by doing penance or buying indulgences to pay for one’s sins. Jesus did not die on the cross to allow us to work towards salvation, nor were we baptized to justify ourselves. Jesus died and we were baptized that we would be the justified people of God.
Jesus, help us to remember that we are justified before God through your death and the faith given us by the Holy Spirit. Amen. — DG