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1 Corinthians 15:55–58
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
But the bull of Leo openly condemns this article, “Concerning Repentance,” and the adversaries condemn it in the Confutation. From these, it is apparent what sort of a church we must judge these men to be. By their decrees they censure the doctrine that we obtain the forgiveness of sins through faith—not because of our works but on account of Christ. Further, they also give the command to abolish this teaching by force and the sword, and by every kind of cruelty to put to death good people who have this belief.
Pulling It Together: The doctrine of justification by faith is one for which people have given their lives. Luther himself, knowing that his life would be forfeit, declared that his conscience was captive to the Word of God, not to the doctrines of men. Today, we face a challenge of a similar sort that may yet bring about a second reformation of the Church. In Luther’s day, the reformers protested a works righteousness. In today's Western world, though a righteousness of works persists, we face a cultural righteousness, in which our doctrine of the authority of Scripture would be abolished by any means. Indeed, as in the time of the Reformation, this threat comes from both government and parts of the established churches in our lands.
We too, know what sort of people confront the Church today. It may yet be that some of us will give their lives for the truth. Nevertheless, the victory is God’s, not culture’s. So, like the reformers, the apostles, our Lord himself, and those brothers and sisters who have gladly lived and died for the truth in our own time, let us “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord [our] labor is not in vain.”
Prayer: Thank you, God, for giving me victory over sin, death, and the devil—not through any work of my own but on account of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.
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Learning About Confession - Teacher's Guide guides leaders in teaching the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. The student book, Learning About Confession is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.