We substitute that love with faith. And while they say that faith is the mere monogram (= ornamental letters), but love is its living colors and fullness itself, we say in opposition that faith takes hold of Christ and that He is the form that adorns and informs faith as color does the wall. Therefore Christian faith is not an idle quality or an empty husk in the heart, which may exist in a state of mortal sin until love comes along to make it alive. But if it is true faith, it is a sure trust of the heart and firm assent through which Christ is taken hold of. Christ is the object of faith, or rather not the object but, so to speak, in the faith itself Christ is present. Thus faith is a sort of knowledge or darkness that nothing can see. Yet the Christ of whom faith takes hold is sitting in this darkness as God sat in the midst of darkness on Sinai and in the temple. Therefore our formal (= real) righteousness is not love that informs faith; but it is faith itself and the cloud of our hearts, that is, trust in a thing we do not see, in Christ, who cannot in any way be seen (ut maxime non videatur), but, nevertheless, is present.Therefore, faith justifies because it takes hold of and possesses this treasure, the present Christ. But the mode in which He is present cannot be thought, for there is darkness, as I have said. Therefore, where true confidence of the heart is present, there Christ is present, in that very cloud and faith. This is the formal (= real) righteousness on account of which a man is justified; it is not on account of love, as the sophists say. In short, just as the sophists say that love forms and makes faith perfect, so we say that it is Christ who forms and fulfils faith or who is the form (=reality) of faith (formam esse fidei).
Therefore the Christ who is grasped by faith and who lives in the heart is the Christian righteousness, on account of which God counts us righteous and gives us eternal life as gift. Here there is no work of the Law, no love; but there is an entirely different kind of righteousness, a new world above and beyond the Law. For Christ or faith is neither the Law nor the work of the Law.
Lectures on Galatians, 1535,
American Edition, 26: 29-130 (sic).
Cited in “Should Baptized Infants
Be Communed?” by Father Patrick
Fodor. Retrived from: