From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
There is no contention or dispute about these articles, since we confess them on both sides. Therefore, it is not necessary to deal any further with them now.
Pulling It Together
Luther wanted unity in the Church, but not if it meant sacrificing the very truths that upheld that Church. Three memorable, Latin slogans that came out of the Lutheran reform movement can help us determine when we are parting from Christian truth: sola gratia, sola fide, and sola Scriptura. We believe that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, that is based on the Scripture alone. Since it is impossible to earn God’s forgiveness, his freely given grace furnishes confident hope for sinners. This grace is freely given for Christ’s sake, not because we have contributed in any way to our salvation. God’s grace is only apprehended by faith in Jesus Christ. The basis for these beliefs is the Word of God—only the Word of God. We must be careful to add nothing to the Scripture, such as church traditions, councils, or even modern critical interpretative tools, for they can be, and have been, very wrong. It is the Scripture alone that brings us back to God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Help me, God, to pursue peace that is in accord with Christ Jesus. Amen.
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