1 John 3:19–24
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Political Order
The whole topic concerning the distinction between the kingdom of Christ and a political kingdom has been explained to advantage in the writings of our theologians. Christ’s kingdom is spiritual; that is to say, it begins in the heart through knowledge and fear of God, faith, eternal righteousness, and eternal life. The kingdom of Christ permits us to, at the same time, outwardly use the legitimate political ordinances of every nation in which we live, just as it permits us to use medicine or architecture, or food, drink, and air.
Pulling It Together: Christ does not rule like earthly rulers, through the passing of laws and the enforcement of the same. He governs by his Word and through preaching. This is why we say that his kingdom begins in the heart where one believes. While good citizens of earthly kingdoms obey the laws of the land, so long as they are not in opposition to the spiritual kingdom, they always obey Christ, as heard in Scripture and the proclamation of his Word. This too, is a matter of faith in our King, for even when we think that we are very poor citizens of his kingdom, his Spirit reassures our faint hearts through the Word. We are again made into confident citizens, remembering that citizenship in his kingdom is not a matter of obeying laws, but of believing in him and loving one another.
Prayer: Help me, O King eternal, to keep your great command: to believe in you. Amen.
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Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.