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I Believe

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Mark 9:24

We confess what the Scripture teaches, and with the father of the boy with the unclean spirit, say, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

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Hear

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Deuteronomy 6:4

When we say that we “believe in one God,” as the Apostles' Creed plainly outlines, we name the one God as Father, Son, and Spirit.

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The Father Almighty

Reading the Word with Luther

Scripture Text: Matthew 7:7-11

In both law and gospel he has given good gifts to his children. As the Almighty, he commands; as our Father, he gives us his grace.

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The Father Almighty

Reading the Word with Luther

Scripture Text: Matthew 7:7-11

In both law and gospel he has given good gifts to his children. As the Almighty, he commands; as our Father, he gives us his grace.

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Maker of Heaven and Earth

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Genesis 1:1–31

In these few, opening words of the creed, we see the Trinity expressed even before God is named as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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In Jesus Christ

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 10:22–39

In the creed, we profess that it is God himself who saves us from sin and death. Our confession is that Jesus is this saving God. 

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In Jesus Christ

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 10:22–39

In the creed, we profess that it is God himself who saves us from sin and death. Our confession is that Jesus is this saving God. 

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His Only Son

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 John 4:9–15

The Scriptures alone teach the incarnation, so we should believe it as an article handed over and shown to us by God himself.

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Our Lord

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Thessalonians 2:14–17

We confess God to be a gracious Lord who loves us so greatly that he promised to save us and through his own sacrifice, brings us everlasting comfort and the hope of redemption.

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Conceived by the Holy Spirit

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 6:54–63

Even in the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary, we see that human works had no play. Mary did nothing. Joseph surely did nothing. God did it all.

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The Incarnate God

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 1:18–25

In becoming man, while also fully God, Jesus paid the price for our sin, restoring our favor with God by the blood of his sacrifice.

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Suffered Under Pontius Pilate

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 27:11–23

Jesus did not have to suffer under Pilate's authority but for the will of his Father, he suffered that the sins of the world be covered by his sacrifice.

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Was Crucified

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 19:16–27

Jesus suffered in our place a literally excruciating death in order to redeem the world from its lost condition, again literally justifying humanity to God.

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Died

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 19:28–37

Jesus did not sleep, as we say, but truly died a real, physical death so that those who believe may be raised from death to a real and bodily life.

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Jesus Died

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 19:38–42

Jesus really died. He is not dead, but he once died, crucified on a Roman cross. This was no trickery or vision; the incarnate God physically died.

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He Descended into Hell

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ephesians 4:1–10

We celebrate the Ascension; we should observe the “Descension” too. Jesus Christ did descend into hell but it could not hold him.

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He Rose Again

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Genesis 45:25–28

Like Jacob, who simply believed the report of his son being still alive, we confess that on the third day Christ Jesus rose from the dead and lives.

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He Ascended

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18

We need not be concerned over our future. It is secure in Christ, so we are freed and empowered to live the risen and ascended life now.

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He Will Come Again

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 4:1–7

The Christian should be careful to live faithfully, yet not trust in her own righteousness but in Jesus who is coming soon to judge all who have lived.

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I Believe in the Holy Spirit

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ephesians 1:1–14

Christians believe that the Lord our God is one God yet three persons, or the Trinity, whom we name as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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The Holy Catholic Church

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 16:13–20

In the creed, we confess a catholic Church, meaning the entire communion of believers throughout time who hold to orthodox or correct doctrine.

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The Communion of Saints

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:1–12:2

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

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Forgiveness of Sins

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 John 1:5–10

Do not run for the bushes. Do not deny. Confess! For we have been given a Savior and so, we believe in the forgiveness of sins.

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Resurrection of the Body

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18

Resurrection is a mystery but we confess our belief that in the flash of an instant, we will be changed. We will be made otherwise, altered, glorified.

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The Life Everlasting

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 14:1–4

"Are we there yet?" You have heard this childlike question many times. We too, should be like little children, eager to be at our eternal home with God.

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The Nicene Creed

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 14:8–11

The Nicene Creed originated from a need to confront a false teaching by concisely and correctly teaching what the Scripture says about Jesus Christ.

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Things Visible and Invisible

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 8:4–6

We confess that the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, forever one God, is the creator of all things, whether visible or unseen.

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Begotten of the Father Before All Worlds

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 1:1–4, 14–18

Christ was in the beginning as the creating Word. He was with God. And he was God. Christ Jesus is God, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

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God from God

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Philippians 2:5–11

Jesus has always been God with the Father and Holy Spirit. Together, they are one God and Jesus is God of this Triune God.

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Light of Light

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Revelation 21:22–25

The light that is God is generated by his glory. As he is by definition, “God of God,” he is by description, “Light of Light.”

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Very God of Very God

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 5:15-18

There is no other God to be truer than, so “true God of true God” simply emphasizes the doctrine that Jesus is not a created being but is truly God.

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Begotten

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Colossians 1:15–20

In the Nicene Creed, we confess a straightforward denial of the Arian heresy: Jesus is “not made.” The Son is begotten, not created.

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For Our Benefit

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 10:34–39

Christ Jesus came to save us — not to make us feel better but to bring us into a corrected and eternal relationship with God.

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For Us

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 5:16–21

We confess in the Nicene Creed that Christ Jesus came down from heaven accomplished his Father's will "for us."

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The Never-ending Kingdom

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Isaiah 9:2–7 

If you are in Christ who is eternal from the Father, then you are eternal from and in Christ, a citizen of his eternal, never-ending kingdom.

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Lord and Giver of Life

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 3:12–18

The Holy Spirit is too often thought of as impersonal, a power, rather that the relational third person of the Trinity who is God.

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Proceeds

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 15:26–27

There is a plurality in God, yet an inseparable unity in the undivided essence whom we refer to in the Scriptures.

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Together

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Genesis 1:26–28

The Creed helps the uncomprehending to confess and believe the Scriptures so that they may come to understand the incomprehensible.

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Who Spake

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Samuel 23:1–4

We only know about God because he has revealed himself to us. The Nicene Creed speaks specifically here of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, "who spake."

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One Church

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 6:11–18

We confess a Church united in its apostolic doctrines and practices, one that is orthodox, rightly teaching the Word and observing the sacraments.

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One Baptism

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ephesians 4:1–6

We’re you baptized into a stream, a pond, a river, a baptistery, a font? Or were you baptized into Christ. If the latter, your sins have been removed.

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Looking Forward to It

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 15:12–19

In the creeds, we confess that Jesus really died but was also resurrected from the dead. And so, we confess that we too will be raised as he was.

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The World to Come

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 John 5:10–13

We may hope to see a departed family member in heaven, but for the true believer, there is no greater longing than to be with God on earth as in heaven.

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The Athanasian Creed

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Luke 24:44–45

The whole three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal, so that in all things, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped.

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Whole and Inviolable

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 20:24–29

The latest theological craze attracts the spiritually distracted like deer to headlights. The more glaring and wilder, the better.

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Trinity in Unity

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 14:6–13

Now this is the catholic faith: we worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.

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Compulsion

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 11:33–36

We have been a great gift from God: the revelation of himself. Otherwise we could not comprehend the Mystery who is God, nor believe in him.

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Addressing Heresies

Reading the Word with Luther

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18–21

"Now, that sounds believable," said no one ever about the Trinity — unless the Spirit of God is at work in her through the proclaimed Word.

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Equal and Subordinate

Reading the Word with Luther

Scripture Text: Colossians 2:8–15

When you were dead in your sins, God made you alive with him by canceling the debt that stood against you, nailing it to the cross.

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One Christ

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 4:1–6

He is not two beings, a god and a man somehow in a kind of symbiosis, or a compound or complex organism, two beings, but no longer quite human or divine.

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Likewise

Reading the Word with Luther

Scripture Text: 1 Timothy 2:1–6

The Small Catechism teaches us that the ascended Christ is “true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary.”

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Standing On Your Own Feet

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Revelation 20:11–15

In the end, at the coming of Christ, “every one must stand on his own feet; his own personal faith is demanded, he will give an account for himself...”

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A Preface Toward Unity

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Christians ought to hope for unity, beginning to do so by considering how they agree on matters of the faith, for we are called to fellowship in Jesus.

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Of God

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

Lutherans confessed at Augsburg that they believed what the Scriptures say about God, regardless of whether they could reason their way to the doctrine.

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Of Original Sin

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 3:21-27

We all need a Savior because we are all sinners from birth. Even those "innocent" little babies need the Savior. Do not hinder them coming to Jesus.

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Of the Son of God

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 20:30-31

Eternal God then born human also, Jesus has a dual nature, a shared existence or incarnation. He is God and man at once — God in the flesh.

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Of Justification

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:28 sounds like a sixteenth century Lutheran wrote the words but they were penned by Paul and inspired by the Holy Spirit in the first century.

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Of the Ministry

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 10:5–17

The Holy Spirit, through the Word and Sacraments, works faith in them that hear the gospel, justifying those who believe that they are received by grace for Christ's sake.

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New Obedience

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:18–25

One who walks by the Spirit operates under a new obedience, doing even more than the law requires. These fruits of the Spirit do not save but flow from faith.

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Concerning the Church

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ephesians 5:25–27

The Church of Christ is that congregation of saints in which the gospel is correctly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.

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What the Church Is

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 23:1–10

The Christian is that person who no longer seeks his salvation, his deliverance, his justification in himself, his virtues, but in Jesus Christ alone.

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About Baptism

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 3:18–22

Lutherans profess that baptism is necessary for salvation, not just for adults but for children too, that God's grace, like Christ's touch, is available to the them.

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About the Lord's Supper

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 6:50–59

Lutherans profess with the Scripture, that "this is," Christ's real body and blood, that he is truly present, and not just a grateful memory of him.

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About Confession

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: James 5:13-20

Because one cannot enumerate all sins, Lutherans practice public confession and absolution, while encouraging private confession too.

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About Repentance

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Colossians 1:9-14

Lutherans hold that the only way to perfectly overcome sin is to be forgiven for Christ's sake, not through any merit or satisfactions of our own.

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The Use of the Sacraments

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 11:23–26

The gift of Christ's Body and Blood is God working through his Supper to enliven and establish our faith through continued grace, only received by faith.

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About Ecclesiastical Order

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ephesians 4:11-16

God puts great responsibility and privilege upon a relative few in his church so that all of his people may grow in the Word and the grace of Jesus Christ.

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Church Traditions

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 4:8-11

The human heart must be constantly reminded that Christ is the end of the law but that there are “profitable” things we still do — yet not as obligation.

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Civic Government

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 13:1-7

Lutherans teach that the sanctification of Christians does not come from doing or not doing things, but with what Christ has done for us on the cross.

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Concerning Christ's Return for Judgment

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 15:50-57

Jesus Christ is returning to earth on the last day of time to judge the living and the dead, sorting out believers to heaven and unbelievers to hell.

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Free Will

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 2:14-16

Lutherans confess that that they are unable to attain to the righteousness of God, and are entirely dependent upon God's grace from start to finish,.

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The Cause of Sin

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 1:18-25

God did not create evil but he did create humans with the ability to be disobedient to his good will, to sin, and we call this disobedience evil.

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Concerning Good Works - Part 1

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 5:14-16

Though Lutherans confess that God's grace alone justifies a person without adding a single virtuous act, they believe that good works flow from faith.

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Concerning Good Works - Part 2

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 14:1-6

Our works cannot appease God or earn forgiveness of sins, grace, and justification. We obtain this only by believing we are favored only for Christ's sake.

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Concerning Good Works - Part 3

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Acts 15:5-11

The Lutherans, in teaching justification by faith, were not introducing a novel doctrine, as it had been taught by the Apostles and the Church Fathers.

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Concerning Good Works - Part 4

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 15:8-13

The doctrine of justification by faith alone brings the greatest consolation to the conscience since good works depends on us but faith depends on Christ.

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Concerning Good Works - Part 5

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Philippians 3:1-11

The conscience is plagued with guilt when one relies on good works for righteousness with God, instead of relying on Christ alone through faith.

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Concerning Good Works - Part 6

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 3:16-17

True faith is that which trusts in the only God as a Father who loves and forgives, giving comfort and support where once there was worry and fear.

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Concerning Good Works - Part 7

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: James 2:14-22

Lutherans confess that it is necessary to do good works because it is the will of God, these works contributing nothing to salvation but being evidence of it.

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Concerning Good Works - Part 8

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 15:1-5

Doing good works as conditional to salvation is impossible since one cannot begin to love God or do good works until filled with the Holy Spirit.

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Concerning the Worship of Saints

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 8:31-34

Lutherans aim to imitate the lives of the saints but not venerate them, as to pray to them for help or expect such aid from any but God in Christ's Spirit.

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Conclusion of Part One

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

The emphasis of the Confession remains upon Christ rather than tradition, in the authority of God instead of human invention, practices, and teachings.

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Corrected Abuses

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Corruptions had begun to creep into the church, and reform was badly needed so that people's hearts could again be comforted by the mercy of God.

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Concerning Both Kinds in the Sacrament

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 26:26-28

When we change the plain meaning of God's Word or remove verses that offend us, we offend God and are condemned by the very words we omit.

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Concerning the Marriage of Priests

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Genesis 2:18, 21-24

Enforced celibacy is man's answer to a human problem with sin; it is not God's answer. The Lord's answer, his intention and institution, is marriage.

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Concerning the Mass - Part 1

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 11:27-32

It is God's will that we receive his grace through the means of Holy Communion, and do so often, as we sinners need his grace very much.

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Concerning the Mass - Part 2

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ephesians 2:4-7

It was taught that one could purchase a Mass to be said for himself or a dead relative as a way of earning merit with God, reducing time in Purgatory.

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Concerning the Mass - Part 3

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Acts 8:18-23

Since the beginning of the world, nothing that God ever ordained seems to have been so abused for the sake of generating revenue as the Mass.

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Concerning the Mass - Part 4

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Hebrews 10:8-14

As was the apostolic practice and that of the Fathers, Holy Communion belongs to the whole church, not just to those who can afford it.

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Concerning the Mass - Part 5

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Luke 22:14-20

As was the apostolic practice and that of the Fathers, Holy Communion belongs to the whole church, not just to those who can afford it.

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Concerning the Mass - Part 6

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 11:33-34

Holy Communion is not a potluck that feeds the belly. It is a means of grace in which people are assured that they receive the forgiveness of sins.

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Concerning Confession - Part 1

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 20:21-23

Lutheran churches carefully teach about faith in the absolution, reminding Christians of the great consolation it brings to anxious consciences.

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Concerning Confession - Part 2

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 19:12–13

Praise God for his mercy instead of worrying that you have forgotten some other sin for which an imaginary, angry god would hold you accountable.

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Concerning the Distinction of Meats - Part 6

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 9:24–27

Discipline your body, yes, with exercise and diet, and spiritual disciplines also like fasting and vigils, but not think these are the things that save you.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 1

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 5:33–37

Lutherans do not believe that "holy orders" such as monastic vows are sacraments, means of receiving grace, let alone earning God's grace.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 2

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Philippians 3:12–21

Paul admits that he is not perfect, but struggling against his flesh, he presses on toward the goal of completeness, in spite of his imperfect state.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 3

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 7:1–5

Because of the temptation to immorality, the commandment of God is that each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 4

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ecclesiastes 5:1–7

Some promises must be broken, for example, when God's Word and order are at stake, promises should be reconsidered in the light of God's love.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 5

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 19:10–12

Lutherans teach that vows of celibacy are not sacramental, nor are they binding in cases where one did not understand what was being promised.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 6

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 8:1–4

The Lutherans believed that marriages could not be annulled by monastic vows, the opposite being the case: marriage vows annul monastic obligations.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 7

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:1–6

To say that one may do something — anything at all — that could earn God's grace is an insult to the gospel of our Lord and to Christ himself.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 9

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Timothy 4:1–5

Anyone in any calling of life, may be a servant of Christ, without taking special orders in the church, for all vocations are holy orders when done for God.

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Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 10

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: James 1:1–4

Once monastic vows are understood to be human inventions, they are null and void; one is freed to live a normal life as God has commanded.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, Part 5

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 3:1–3

It is against Scripture to establish or require any tradition, if the observance is to make satisfaction for sins, or to earn grace and righteousness.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, Part 6

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Colossians 2:16–19

There is one thing that settles the matter of sin, or our righteousness before God, and that one thing is faith in the saving work of Christ Jesus alone.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, Part 7

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 15:10–20

Bishops have no right to burden the church with obligations of false righteousness, for these do not help us trust in the merit of Christ alone.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, Part 8

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 11:25–30

The gospel prohibits making ordinances necessary for meriting grace, so it follows that it is not lawful for any bishop to institute such things.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, Part 9

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 11:1–6

Bishops or pastors may make ordinances so that there is order in the church but these may not be said to merit grace or make satisfaction for sins.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, Part 10

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Hebrews 10:19-25

We gather together on the Lord's day, yet no day is any better than another in terms of salvation, for days do not save; the Lord of day is the Savior.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, Part 11

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 1:16–17

Ceremonial laws are Jewish, not Christian, and so often entrap consciences, which Jesus came to liberate and give peace and certainty of forgiveness.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, Part 12

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 10:23–30

Minutia like hair, dress, jewelry, food, drink, and ceremony can become the focus for some, but for Christians, Christ and his gospel must be the focus.

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Concerning the Power of Bishops, part 13

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Acts 5:27–29

As it is obvious that some ordinances were the wrong idea, it would be fitting to correct them, since this would not disturb the unity of the church.

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The Preface to the Defense

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Colossians 2:1–7

The church in Rome would not have the Augsburg Confession but the reformers clung more tightly to their articles of faith and defended them.

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Concerning God

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 28:17–20

There is one divine essence, undivided, etc., yet three distinct persons, of the same divine essence, and coeternal: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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Concerning Original Sin

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 51:3–5

Original sin is not the doing of unlawful things but is the depraved condition, the diseased state of the natural person, that is itself sin.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 2

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Colossians 3:2–6

Original sin is not the doing of unlawful things but is the depraved condition, the diseased state of the natural person, that is itself sin.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 3

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 3:18–21

A proper understanding of original sin, will rely upon “sola Scriptura” as the final word, as it is in all things for those are truly Lutheran Christians.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 4

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ephesians 2:1–5

Being rich in mercy, and loving the whole world, God sent his Son to save us from our sinful birth, from the sin that originates within each of us.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 5

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 1:1–2

Our symptoms point to something pernicious, as does Scripture. And the Word of God — not human reason — is always to be our final authority.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 6

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 14:1–3

Without the doctrine of original sin, God must be considered rather foolish for sending his Son to redeem those are capable of redeeming themselves.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 7

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Genesis 1:26–27

Lutherans, as well as the Church Fathers, define original sin as the complete lack of the righteousness that was originally given humanity.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 8

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Colossians 3:5–10

Due to the fall, humanity now lacks the original image of God given them in creation, and without it, any innate righteousness or ability to achieve it.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 9

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ephesians 4:20–24

Our original nature or self must be drowned in baptism, and as we are so comfortable in our old clothing, we must daily put off of that old self.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 10

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 6:25–33

Original sin is an inability to seek God and his righteousness, so that what we are left with is the inordinate ability to seek after the things of the flesh.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 11

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 2:14–16

We too often consider sin something as simply that we do. It is more than what we do; sin is the reason we do the things we know to be sinful.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 12

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 116:12–13

Original sin should be taught so that our people might truly know their need of, and have a desire for Christ, and the grace that the gospel offers.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 13

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Ezekiel 36:25–27

God now gives us right desires and the strength to overcome — even if that strong desire is to ask his forgiveness when we fall in the fight. 

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Concerning Original Sin, part 14

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 5:27–30

The Lutheran reformers were careful to note that original sin deals not only with what people do, but with the human nature that causes them to sin.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 15

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Colossians 3:5–10

If people believe that their natural inclination toward evil is not in itself sin, and a matter of no concern, then why should they trust in God's grace?

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Concerning Original Sin, part 16

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Genesis 3:14–19  

Scripture shows that because of the original sin of Adam's and Eve's disobedience, humanity is enslaved to sin, death, and the devil.

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Concerning Original Sin, part 17

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 3:14–16

Original sin is a vital matter, for if people do not understand their depraved and damnable nature, how will they understand their need of Christ Jesus?

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Concerning Christ

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 20:24–28

There was no difference between the positions of the Lutherans and Rome when it comes to the dual nature of Christ, that he is both God and man.

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Concerning Justification

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 5:1–2 

Justification is the chief article for the Lutherans, touching every other article and doctrine in the Augsburg Confession and its Defense.

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Concerning Justification, part 2

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 3:21–23 

When considering the Scriptures, grace, faith, and justification must always be considered in contrast to the law and the commandments.

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Concerning Justification, part 3

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Mark 12:28–31

We do not trust God. A solid proof of this assertion is our seeking to satisfy his righteous law by our own works, instead of depending upon his grace.

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Concerning Justification, part 4

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 3:18–23 

Lutherans do not teach that righteousness comes through reason or civility or any human work, for we are incapable of loving God on our own.

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Concerning Justification, part 5

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 6:14–16

If Christianity is just another philosophy, then Christ and his cross, his life, death, resurrection, and ascension, offer no distinctive benefit to sinners.

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Concerning Justification, part 6

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 139:23–24

Knowing about Jesus provides no disposition to love God; only the the righteousness given by God through faith disposes people to love him.

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Concerning Justification, part 7

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Titus 3:4–7

How do we know if we have acquired any merit with God but by believing his promise in Jesus Christ, who is our only and sufficient merit with God?

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Concerning Justification, part 8

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 7:25–27

The winds of life will blow and beat against the house of faith, yet it will not fall. Faith continues to stand because Christ is faith's secure foundation.

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Concerning Justification, part 9

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 3:23–26

Something far better than a program of law or education has arrived in Christ Jesus, who through faith, has made us good citizens of his kingdom.

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Concerning Justification, part 10

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 John 1:8–9

There is another kind of righteousness that is heavenly, free, and full of grace, not from keeping the commandments but from the very hand of God.

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Concerning Justification, part 11

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 51:1–10

We will never stand before God, or be righteous, unless he does it for us. Only God can create clean hearts and make us pure, holy, and righteous.

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Concerning Justification, part 12

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Jeremiah 17:5–7

No one is ever able to love God by virtue of his own strength or abilities. Nor is one able to fulfill the rest of God's law by human strength or reason.

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Concerning Justification, part 13

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Timothy 1:12–15

A person greatly dishonors the Lord when he thinks that he makes himself sinless and holy, when “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

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Concerning Justification, part 14

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 2:15–21

We confess that Christians should do good works. Yet, we also confess that these works do not earn God's grace or save them from sin and death.

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Concerning Justification, part 15

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Isaiah 64:4–6

If it is Jesus who makes us free, how dare we try to make ourselves free through works of the law, as though we must add works to remain free?

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Concerning Justification, part 16

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Samuel 16:6–7

Since God looks at the heart, we ought to concern ourselves primarily with loving him with our whole self. Then the other commandments may be kept.

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Concerning Justification, part 17

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Genesis 3:8–10

We know the law is right, that in ourselves, we have no leg to stand on. The law has us dead to rights. So, how can it make us right with God?

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Concerning Justification, part 18

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 4:7–14

As circumcision was a seal of Abraham's faith in God's promise, works are do not earn God's grace but are a sign that one believes God's promise.

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Concerning Justification, part 19

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 3:4–5

How misleading — and even rude — it would be to invite people to a party and then demand that they serve the guests in order to stay.

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Concerning Justification, part 20

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Philippians 3:8–9

So called personal faith does not rely upon personal works but on the person of Christ, as it is through him that God is reconciled toward us.

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Concerning Justification, part 21

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 5:1–2

Faith is a matter of the heart over the head. Faith trusts that God loves me even when I think that he cannot, so my heart is comforted and peaceful.

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Concerning Justification, part 22

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 12:1–2

We should offer our whole selves to God, though to imagine that this appeases God's wrath or earns justification and salvation is self-deception.

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Concerning Justification, part 23

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 4:15–16

If a promise is made, faith — not work — is required. This is true in human relations and is no less true in our relationship with the divine.

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Concerning Justification, part 24

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 6:21–24

All we can do — by the power and work of God's Spirit — is thankfully receive what has been freely promised through God's great mercy.

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Concerning Justification, part 26

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 50:8–15

God is pleased when we keep our obligations and do good works, yet, we must not imagine these things appease God's righteous wrath toward sin.

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Concerning Justification, part 27

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Luke 24:45–49

Faith is an active trust in God. It is not doing or reciting religious things by those who believe in the history of Christianity but do not believe in Christ.

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Concerning Justification, part 28

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 10:13–17

Saving faith that reconciles God, comes by what is heard through the Word. One does not earn justifying faith; one receives it by the word of Christ.

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Concerning Justification, part 29

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Timothy 2:3–6

When it comes to religion, we want to trust in the things we do, as though our deeds were some form of spiritual currency that can buy salvation.

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Concerning Justification, part 30

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 1:3–5

Faith is not the beginning of salvation, to which more work must be added to the work of Christ. He has done it all. He alone justifies you with God.

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Concerning Justification, part 31

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 4:1–5

Lutherans confess that we are saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, not by works of the law or religion or personal piety.

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Concerning Justification, part 32

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Psalm 32:1–5

We should do all we can to please the Lord but rely upon Christ alone — not what we do but what he did) for the covering of our sins, and for salvation.

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Concerning Justification, part 33

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 5:17–21

Though sin terrifies consciences through the law that reveals the wrath of God, we gain the victory through Christ by faith in his mercy.

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Concerning Justification, part 34

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 5:1–2

Our interest should be in being with God who is our peace and heaven, things which religious devotion and good works can never gain.

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Concerning Justification, part 35 - copy

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 5:1–2Hebrews 4:14–16

Jesus is our great High Priest, mediating for us before God, a thing that we cannot do ourselves with any amount of religion, devotion, or good works.

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Concerning Justification, part 36

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Acts 10:36–43

Not only Lutherans, but the apostles and the prophets also, insist upon justification by faith — faith in the merits of Jesus. They add nothing else.

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Concerning Justification, part 37

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Revelation 3:20

To receive forgiveness, only have faith in what Jesus has done for you. There is no need to do anything else about what has already been done.

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Concerning Justification, part 38

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 1:30–31

I have nothing to do with my justification. It too is a gift given to me by God. I am saved by God's grace alone, as experience and Scripture testify. 

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Concerning Justification, part 39

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 3:21–28

The key phraseology is “through faith” or “by faith.” Paul mentions it 31 times, James and Peter once each, and the writer of Hebrews 24 times.

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Concerning Justification, part 40

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 2:15–16

The old law keeper and law enforcer, so impressed by an alien righteousness writes the phrase “faith justifies” many times in his works.

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Concerning Justification, part 41

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: John 3:16–18

If God expected us to save ourselves, we would be condemned before we began because we are still sinners. It is our nature.

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Concerning Justification, part 42

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Acts 13:38–39

Justification does not depend upon the person’s merits; it depends upon the judge — in this case, God, who states that the offense is forgiven.

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Concerning Justification, part 43

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Acts 4:11–12

As salvation does not come by our religious devotion, it also does not happen because we have added works added to his. Christ alone saves.

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Concerning Justification, part 44

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Habakkuk 2:1–4

By faith in Christ, we are completely reconciled to God and entirely assured of eternal life, so that we begin now to enjoy the peace and joy of heaven.

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Concerning Justification, part 45

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Isaiah 53:5–11

Dying, Jesus satisfied the law of God and made us righteous. We can add nothing to this mighty act. He has done it all and justified us to God.

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Concerning Justification, part 46

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Colossians 2:11–14

The world was subject to Christ by the law because, according to the the law, all are indicted, and yet, by the works of the law, no one is justified.

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Concerning Justification, part 47

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 12:7b–10

We often think of Paul’s mysterious “thorn” as a physical affliction. However, if we consider it a spiritual thorn, we may find some profit for conscience.

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Concerning Justification, part 48

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Romans 5:1–5

Justification is not the result of our love or devotion or fine deeds but is the result of God's grace alone working through faith, for Christ's sake.

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Concerning Justification, part 49

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:1–6

Forgiveness of sins is received by faith alone because the promise cannot be received except by faith. True faith is that which assents to the promise.

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Concerning Justification, part 50

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Matthew 7:24–27

Justification is no idle dream among Christians because Christ Jesus has built his church, not on shifting sand but, on the Rock, upon himself.

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Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law, part 10

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Luke 11:39–44

What good is it to go to church on Sundays, bring an offering, be an usher, and serve on a committee, if the doing of these things is the whole of one’s religion? All of these things and more can be done without any faith in God.

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Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law, part 51

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 2:4–6

Be careful not to build a doctrine of righteousness and salvation upon anything you do, for that house would surely fall, since it is founded on the limited and human instead of upon the infinite and divine.

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Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law, part 99

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Mark 1:21-24

Surveys are often filled out by a person who marks the box, “Christian.” Often what this means is that the person thinks there is a God. In the public mind, believing there is a God is synonymous with being a Christian.

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Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law, part 122

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: Luke 17:7-10

We are indentured servants, slaves to sin and death, and we can never earn our freedom. Either the master sets us free—and death and the devil are not going to do that—or someone pays our debt and sets free.

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