2 Timothy 4:1–4
From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
In a word, enthusiasm dwells in Adam and his children from the beginning to the end of the world. It has been implanted and saturated into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power, and strength of all heresy, especially that of the papacy and Mohammed. Therefore, we should and must constantly insist that God does not wish to deal with us except through the external Word and the Sacraments. Whatever is ascribed to the Spirit apart from the Word and Sacraments is of the devil himself.
Pulling It Together: You see how important, how central the Word must be to all doctrine. We dare not permit anyone to claim a special word from God. Let a person speak the external, revealed Word of God and be content. Let his Word speak condemnation and forgiveness in the Sacraments, and then be pleased that God has spoken. It is not too surprising that so many of these new, so-called “words from God” say nothing of wrath and sin. They appeal to human desires instead of God’s will. Be sure of it: God’s Word speaks to the human condition, not its passions. God’s Word will always call you out for what you are: a sinner. Only then, when you have understood your need, will his word of forgiveness come. Without the external word of law and gospel, fanaticism finds a foothold every time.
Prayer: Thank you, Father for forgiving me, a sinner, saved by your grace alone, through Christ. Amen.
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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.