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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 41

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1 Timothy 2:5–6

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Sixth are the precious indulgences granted (but only for money) both to the living and the dead, by which the miserable Judas, or pope, has sold the merit of Christ, together with the superfluous merits of the saints and of the entire Church, etc. All these things are not to be endured. They not only lack the authority of the Word of God, are unnecessary, and not commanded, but are in opposition to the chief article. For the merit of Christ is not obtained by our works or pennies, but by grace through faith. It is not offered through the power of the Pope, but without money and merit through the preaching of God’s Word.

Pulling It Together: God determines the payment for sin. The Church does not do so, nor does a pope. We know this because this is what the Bible teaches. God’s Word does not teach us to trust in the goodness of either religion or religious people. We are taught to trust in the merits of Jesus Christ. This is reliable instruction because the Word of God tells us that people, even so-called saints, are not good (Rom 3:10), and that Christ is so especially good that he is sufficient to cover the sins of the world (Heb 10:14; 1 John 2:2). Christ alone is our indulgence, freely given (Eph 1:7). This is taught in Scripture, even if not in commentaries and canons. This is written by the hand of the prophets and apostles, even if not not by popes and professors.

Prayer: Empower me through Christ and his salvation to do what you have created me to do. Amen.

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