Concerning Good Works – part 8

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Romans 4:13–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

If one seeks testimonies in Scripture by which to establish his thinking, he will discover that they are not lacking. Paul cries out at the top of his voice, as the saying goes, that we “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24). “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed” (Rom 4:16). That is to say, if the promise depended upon our works, it would not be certain. If the forgiveness of sins were given because of our works, when would we know that we had obtained it? When would a terrified conscience find a work which it would consider sufficient to appease God’s wrath?

Pulling It Together: A promise has been made. All that remains is for us is to believe in God’s commitment to save us from sin. There is no need to do something in order to obtain his promise. God’s assurance that sins are freely forgiven is given because of Christ, not because we have somehow lived up to his promise.

Now if we were the ones who made the promise, we would have something to live up to: we would have to make good on our guarantee. That is precisely what God has done in Christ. He made the promise of justification, then lived up to it by dying—paying the penalty for our sin.

He made his promise and then, graciously guaranteed it through Christ. He left nothing for us to do but trust in the promiser. Believe his word of promise the same way that Abraham did: with faith in the grace of God.

Prayer: O Lord, I trust in your salvation. Amen.

Receive these Sola Devotions in weekday emails. Click here to fill out a quick and secure subscription form. 

The Sola Online Worship Electronic Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Concerning Good Works – part 8

Online jigsaw

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Romans 4:13–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

If one seeks testimonies in Scripture by which to establish his thinking, he will discover that they are not lacking. Paul cries out at the top of his voice, as the saying goes, that we “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24). “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed” (Rom 4:16). That is to say, if the promise depended upon our works, it would not be certain. If the forgiveness of sins were given because of our works, when would we know that we had obtained it? When would a terrified conscience find a work which it would consider sufficient to appease God’s wrath?

Pulling It Together: A promise has been made. All that remains is for us is to believe in God’s commitment to save us from sin. There is no need to do something in order to obtain his promise. God’s assurance that sins are freely forgiven is given because of Christ, not because we have somehow lived up to his promise.

Now if we were the ones who made the promise, we would have something to live up to: we would have to make good on our guarantee. That is precisely what God has done in Christ. He made the promise of justification, then lived up to it by dying—paying the penalty for our sin.

He made his promise and then, graciously guaranteed it through Christ. He left nothing for us to do but trust in the promiser. Believe his word of promise the same way that Abraham did: with faith in the grace of God.

Prayer: O Lord, I trust in your salvation. Amen.

Receive these Sola Devotions in weekday emails. Click here to fill out a quick and secure subscription form. 

The Sola Online Worship Electronic Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Good Works – part 7

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Titus 3:5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

So this cause is a worthy one, for which we will refuse no danger to defend. If you have agreed to our Confession, “do not yield to the wicked, but go forward more boldly,” when our opponents employ their terrors and tortures and punishments to drive away from you that consolation which has been offered in our article to the whole Church.

Pulling It Together: Anyone who earnestly reads the Bible will soon observe that the teaching that we obtain the forgiveness of sins by faith freely for Christ’s sake has its foundation everywhere in the Bible. So we may confidently rely on God and the Lord Jesus Christ, faithfully confessing an obvious and important truth of Scripture even though it is harshly opposed. Who would want to have this great and everlasting comfort taken from him since the salvation of the whole Christian Church depends upon it?

Prayer: Lord, give me the conviction of faith. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

The goal of Personalities of Faith, a ten-session Bible study for youth, is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith". Using biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

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Concerning Good Works – part 7

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Titus 3:5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

So this cause is a worthy one, for which we will refuse no danger to defend. If you have agreed to our Confession, “do not yield to the wicked, but go forward more boldly,” when our opponents employ their terrors and tortures and punishments to drive away from you that consolation which has been offered in our article to the whole Church.

Pulling It Together: Anyone who earnestly reads the Bible will soon observe that the teaching that we obtain the forgiveness of sins by faith freely for Christ’s sake has its foundation everywhere in the Bible. So we may confidently rely on God and the Lord Jesus Christ, faithfully confessing an obvious and important truth of Scripture even though it is harshly opposed. Who would want to have this great and everlasting comfort taken from him since the salvation of the whole Christian Church depends upon it?

Prayer: Lord, give me the conviction of faith. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

The goal of Personalities of Faith, a ten-session Bible study for youth, is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith". Using biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Good Works – part 6

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1 Peter 2:24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

Who would not rejoice to die in the confession of the article that we obtain the forgiveness of sins by faith freely for Christ’s sake, that we do not merit the forgiveness of sins by our works? The consciences of the pious will not have sufficiently sure consolation against the terrors of sin and of death, and against the devil inciting to despair, unless they know that they ought to be confident that they have the forgiveness of sins freely for Christ’s sake. This faith sustains and arouses hearts in that most violent conflict: with despair.

Pulling It Together: When despair sets in and you find no comfort in religion, family, or friends, you need something greater. When medicine cannot revive you, and doctors are of no use, and when death is imminent, your good works will give you no solace. You must have a reliable treatment for your condition when the despair of sin and death overwhelm you.

There is only one prescription for this malady that afflicts us all. Religion will not do it. A program of good works will not suffice. Only confident faith in Christ relieves us of the burden of sin and affords sure comfort in the face of death. Faith in Christ’s redeeming work on our account allows us to trust in God’s forgiveness, yes, even of the remission of sins—the sending back of our iniquities to Christ’s ledger, and the restoration of our souls to what God intended: the righteousness that we could never have achieved on our own.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for the gift of righteousness, through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Receive these Sola Devotions in weekday emails. Click here to fill out a quick and secure subscription form. 

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Good Works – part 6

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1 Peter 2:24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

Who would not rejoice to die in the confession of the article that we obtain the forgiveness of sins by faith freely for Christ’s sake, that we do not merit the forgiveness of sins by our works? The consciences of the pious will not have sufficiently sure consolation against the terrors of sin and of death, and against the devil inciting to despair, unless they know that they ought to be confident that they have the forgiveness of sins freely for Christ’s sake. This faith sustains and arouses hearts in that most violent conflict: with despair.

Pulling It Together: When despair sets in and you find no comfort in religion, family, or friends, you need something greater. When medicine cannot revive you, and doctors are of no use, and when death is imminent, your good works will give you no solace. You must have a reliable treatment for your condition when the despair of sin and death overwhelm you.

There is only one prescription for this malady that afflicts us all. Religion will not do it. A program of good works will not suffice. Only confident faith in Christ relieves us of the burden of sin and affords sure comfort in the face of death. Faith in Christ’s redeeming work on our account allows us to trust in God’s forgiveness, yes, even of the remission of sins—the sending back of our iniquities to Christ’s ledger, and the restoration of our souls to what God intended: the righteousness that we could never have achieved on our own.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for the gift of righteousness, through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Receive these Sola Devotions in weekday emails. Click here to fill out a quick and secure subscription form. 

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

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Concerning Good Works – part 5

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Joshua 1:5–7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

We see that a horrible decree has been prepared against us, which would terrify us even more if we were disputing dubious or trivial subjects. Now that our consciences understand the adversaries to be condemning the obvious truth—truth that must be defended for the Church and the increase of the glory of Christ—we easily dismiss the terrors of the world and will bravely bear whatever is to be suffered for the glory of Christ and the advantage of the Church.

Pulling It Together: We must hold the ground of the gospel and not give an inch. When the choice is between Scripture and tradition, the choice is clear even if it is sometimes difficult. There are many who stand against the truth and are very bold to do so. We must be bolder still, believing what God told Joshua. No one can prevail against the truth, so be strong and very courageous. Courage is necessary because, though truth will win out, the fight will be fierce. Do not be dismayed that no one believes you or takes the side of Scripture. Do not be surprised that they make your life difficult, or worse, at times a living hell. Your courageous stand for the truth of the gospel is advantageous to you and Christ’s Church, and brings glory to the Lord as well.

Prayer: Give me bold courage to stand for your truth, Lord. Amen.

A Discussion of Living Religions is a brief introduction to major world religions that takes a conversational approach as a group of friends talk together about what it is they believe. Each has a chance to speak for themselves about how they understand the fundamentals of reality and faith.

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Good Works – part 5

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Joshua 1:5–7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

We see that a horrible decree has been prepared against us, which would terrify us even more if we were disputing dubious or trivial subjects. Now that our consciences understand the adversaries to be condemning the obvious truth—truth that must be defended for the Church and the increase of the glory of Christ—we easily dismiss the terrors of the world and will bravely bear whatever is to be suffered for the glory of Christ and the advantage of the Church.

Pulling It Together: We must hold the ground of the gospel and not give an inch. When the choice is between Scripture and tradition, the choice is clear even if it is sometimes difficult. There are many who stand against the truth and are very bold to do so. We must be bolder still, believing what God told Joshua. No one can prevail against the truth, so be strong and very courageous. Courage is necessary because, though truth will win out, the fight will be fierce. Do not be dismayed that no one believes you or takes the side of Scripture. Do not be surprised that they make your life difficult, or worse, at times a living hell. Your courageous stand for the truth of the gospel is advantageous to you and Christ’s Church, and brings glory to the Lord as well.

Prayer: Give me bold courage to stand for your truth, Lord. Amen.

A Discussion of Living Religions is a brief introduction to major world religions that takes a conversational approach as a group of friends talk together about what it is they believe. Each has a chance to speak for themselves about how they understand the fundamentals of reality and faith.

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Concerning Good Works – part 4

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Isaiah 53:4–6 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

Here we could cite infinite testimonies from Scripture and from the Fathers, but we have said enough on this subject. There is no need of more testimonies for one who knows why Christ has been given to us, who knows that Christ is the propitiation for our sins. Isaiah says, “The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). The adversaries, on the other hand, teach that God lays our iniquities on our works instead of on Christ. We are not disposed to mention here the sort of works that they teach.

Pulling It Together: The Father’s purpose in sending his Son into the world was so that the Christ would bear our sins. God’s plan has never been that we should bear our own iniquities. It was for these very iniquities that his hands, feet, side, and head were pierced. His blood covers our sins, satisfying God’s prescribed penalty for sin. That punishment is death (Rom 6:23). Our sins are not and can not be covered in any other way—not by penance or good works, by pilgrimages or prayers, by offerings or any other acts. Our sins are only covered and borne by Christ. How could we save ourselves? We are the sheep who have gone astray. 

Prayer: Blessed are you, Father, for sending your Son. Amen.

Receive these Sola Devotions in weekday emails. Click here to fill out a quick and secure subscription form. 

This booklet provides a suggested list of Bible verses, prayers, and familiar worship texts assigned to various age levels, recommended for use along with Sola Publishing’s Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum series. The order of texts matches the suggested grade levels in Luther’s Small Cat Series: elementary-aged curriculum on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, also available from Sola Publishing. 

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Concerning Good Works – part 4

Online jigsaw

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Isaiah 53:4–6 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Good Works 

Here we could cite infinite testimonies from Scripture and from the Fathers, but we have said enough on this subject. There is no need of more testimonies for one who knows why Christ has been given to us, who knows that Christ is the propitiation for our sins. Isaiah says, “The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). The adversaries, on the other hand, teach that God lays our iniquities on our works instead of on Christ. We are not disposed to mention here the sort of works that they teach.

Pulling It Together: The Father’s purpose in sending his Son into the world was so that the Christ would bear our sins. God’s plan has never been that we should bear our own iniquities. It was for these very iniquities that his hands, feet, side, and head were pierced. His blood covers our sins, satisfying God’s prescribed penalty for sin. That punishment is death (Rom 6:23). Our sins are not and can not be covered in any other way—not by penance or good works, by pilgrimages or prayers, by offerings or any other acts. Our sins are only covered and borne by Christ. How could we save ourselves? We are the sheep who have gone astray. 

Prayer: Blessed are you, Father, for sending your Son. Amen.

Receive these Sola Devotions in weekday emails. Click here to fill out a quick and secure subscription form. 

This booklet provides a suggested list of Bible verses, prayers, and familiar worship texts assigned to various age levels, recommended for use along with Sola Publishing’s Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum series. The order of texts matches the suggested grade levels in Luther’s Small Cat Series: elementary-aged curriculum on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, also available from Sola Publishing. 

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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