From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
Part III, Article IV. Of the Gospel
We will now return to the Gospel, which gives us counsel and aid against sin in more than one way, for God is overflowing with the riches of his grace. His grace flows first, through the spoken Word by which the forgiveness of sins (the unique office of the Gospel) is preached to the whole world; second, through Baptism; third, through the holy Sacrament of the Altar; fourth, through the power of the keys, and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints. “For where two or three are gathered in my name” etc. (Matt 18:20).
Pulling It Together: Again, we see why repentance is so important. God is rich in mercy, forgiving sin but not absolving the “guilty.” The guilty are those who will not own their sin, those who will not admit and confess all their sin. This does not mean every individual sin (which would be impossible to remember) but rather, that they do sin and have the lingering effects of original sin. Nonetheless, God is rich in mercy and grace toward sinners. So, we should repent daily and expect his mercy and grace.
His grace abundantly comes to us in a variety of ways that we should take advantage of as often as possible. All of these means of grace —preaching, Baptism, Holy Communion, the power of the keys, the communion of saints — are rooted in and flow from the proclaimed Word that points to Christ Jesus, himself the glorious source of grace, being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Prayer: Forgive me, O God, by your infinite mercy and grace, through the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.
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Luther's Small Cat Discovers: The Seasons of the Church Year is written for 4th grade level students. This book takes students through the church year, accompanied by Luther’s Small Cat — a character who is just as inquisitive and precocious as the students. May your journey through the church year bring you closer to Christ, who walks through each moment of life alongside you.