"But without faith it is impossible to please him..." ~Hebrews 11:6
True faith, which avails before God, is a living and saving power which is, through the preaching of the holy word, bestowed of God upon the heart; that moves, changes and regenerates it to newness of mind; that smothers all ungodliness; that destroys all pride, ambition and selfishness; that in malice, makes us like children, etc. Behold, such is the faith which the Scriptures teach us, and not a vain, dead and unfruitful conjecture, as the world pretends it to be.
But you should know that the righteousness which avails before God, consists not in any ceremonies and outward works, but solely in a true, pious and fruitful faith and in nothing else, in this manner. For the faith which comes by the word of God cannot be without fruit only in those who sin against the Holy Ghost, as said above, but it leads into all manner of righteousness, it willingly submits itself in all obedience and it cheerfully complies not only with baptism, but with all the words and ceremonies which God, the gracious Father, through his blessed Son, has so clearly taught and commanded in his holy gospel.
This, I say, is our foundation, and, by the grace of God, it will ever remain our foundation, for we truly know and confess that it is the invincible word and truth of the Lord; therefore we testify before you and before all the world that we do not agree with those who teach and institute a dead faith, which they gather from profane history: First, that without change, there can be Spirit, power and fruits. Secondly, that we can be saved by our own merits and works, for reasons above stated.