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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law – part 35

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Ephesians 2:4–10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Anthony, Bernard, Dominicus, Franciscus, and other holy Fathers selected a certain kind of life either for the sake of study or other useful exercises. In the meantime, they believed that they were accounted righteous through faith, and that God was gracious to them for Christ's sake, not because of their spiritual exercises. But since then, the multitude has not imitated the faith of the Fathers, but their activities without faith, thinking that they might earn the forgiveness of sins, grace, and righteousness by such works. They did not believe that they received these freely because of Christ the propitiator.

Pulling It Together: Being a pastor or missionary is not a free ticket to heaven. While the work that such people do is important to the kingdom of Christ, it is only faith in Christ that opens the gates of heaven. A pastor may labor for a lifetime to swing those gates but they will not budge without faith. Only the righteous will enter that blessed rest. Now, that would keep us all out of heaven—except for the work of Christ. Those who have faith in him are assigned his righteousness. Without his righteousness, no one will pass through.

I received a text this morning. It was an electronic boarding pass for a flight home. My wife had purchased my ticket, and then had the airline send the boarding pass to my phone. Now, without this pass, I will never get home. More to the point, while I was busy doing pastoral work, my wife made sure I could get home. Once I get to the airport, I could argue all day about being a pastor and that I was busy doing the work of the kingdom. They still will not allow me on the flight. It is her work that will get me home. You were created for good works, and you should live a life of Christian service, but it is faith in the work of Christ on the cross that brings you home.

Prayer: Lord, empty me of trust in my efforts, and help me rely on you alone. Amen. 

Consider the Years

by Rev. Brad Hales

As the subtitle indicates, this Bible study was written for mature Christians. That is, it bears in mind the unique perspective of those who have seen many years in their relationship with God and may wonder how faith can speak anew to their daily lives. The study offers thirteen brief sessions on issues seniors must navigate, emphasizing how God's Word can bring strength and comfort in the unknown.

This study has been printed in a larger type-face than other Sola Bible studies. The questions offered for discussion focus on Scripture texts that address some particular concerns of older Christians.


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