From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
It follows from this that everything the pope has undertaken and carried out, from such false, mischievous, blasphemous, and arrogant authority have been and still are purely diabolical affairs and transactions (with the exception of such things as pertain to secular government, where God often permits much good to be effected for a people, even through a tyrant and scoundrel) for the ruin of the entire holy Christian Church (as far as it is in his power) and for the destruction of the first and chief article concerning redemption through Jesus Christ.
Pulling It Together: The real issue was, and will always be, in regards to redemption. How is one forgiven and saved? Does this happen because of our good works, religious services, the works of others, declarations of indulgence? Or are we forgiven and saved because we have faith in what Christ did? Do we slowly whittle down our sin debt to zero, even if in a purgatory? Or has Christ done this once and for all on Calvary?
Any doctrine or policy that attributes the work of salvation to anyone other than Christ, is wrong policy and heresy. Any declaration of forgiveness that is contrary to Scripture is arrogant, as it attempts to usurp God’s Word. God help the Church when human policies are authoritative and God’s Word is spurned. So, we must contend for that great truth once delivered to the saints: faith in Christ—not people, not works, not services. Solus Christus!
Prayer: Teach me, Lord, from your holy Word. Amen.
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Go and Tell, unit 2 in the Word of Life Series, is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.