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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 103

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1 Corinthians 15:57

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This repentance is not little by little and incomplete, like that which does penance for individual sins, nor is it uncertain like that. It does not debate what is or is not sin, but amasses it all on a heap, and confesses: Everything in us is nothing but sin. Of what use is lengthy investigation, discerning, or deciding? For this reason, too, such contrition is not unsure, as there is nothing left that we can imagine to be good enough to pay for sin. There is only certain despair concerning all that we are, think, speak, or do.

Pulling It Together: Over the years, I have become even more certain of one thing: I am forgiven of all my sins for Christ’s sake. If I am left to the resources of my behavior—either my sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, or my contrition, acts of penance, and other religious services—I am altogether ruined and hopeless. But thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ for his victory over my sin, and the sins of the world. He is my only hope; of that I am certain.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for Christ’s victory over sin and death. Amen.

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The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, that refer to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

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