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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 32

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Reposted from July 13, 2018

11 And I looked, and I heard around the throne a voice of many angels and living creatures and the elders, numbering ten thousand ten thousands, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, 12 “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (Revelation 5:11–12)

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This article about the Mass will be the whole business of the Council. If it were possible for them to concede to us all the other articles, they would not concede this one. At Augsburg, Campegius said that he would be torn to pieces before he would give up the Mass. By the help of God, I too, would rather be reduced to ashes than allow a hireling of the Mass, be he good or bad, to be made equal to or exalted over Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior. So, we are and remain eternally divided and opposed to one another. They know well enough that when the Mass falls, the papacy lies in ruins. Before they would let that happen, they would put us all to death if they could.

Pulling It Together: Millions of angels bow before Christ, who is worthy to be exalted over all creation. This is heard in Revelation’s septave of complete praise: power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing. No one else in all creation is worthy of such honor, yet it is afforded to priests. As long as one group believes Christ’s work is incomplete and therefore, further sacrifices for sin must be repeatedly offered, while another believes Christ’s single sacrifice perfects forever those who are being sanctified (Heb 10:14), there will be division in the Church. Such division is not a bad thing; it is necessary so that apostolic truth may be understood (1 Cor 11:19). Meanwhile, like the author of Hebrews and Luther and the Reformers with him, we must insist that priestly sacrifices, “offerings for sin” (Heb 10:18), are no longer necessary, and are even reprehensible.

Prayer: Help me trust in your sacrifice, Jesus, my High Priest. Amen.

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In 1537, at a meeting in the German town of Schmalkalden, Martin Luther had his final opportunity to articulate his faith for posterity. The Smalcald Articles are often considered Luther's theological Last Will and Testament. Written in easy-to-understand language, this study in Sola's Book of Concord Series is presented in a discussion format with assigned readings from the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. Included in the study is a shorter work by Philip Melanchton called "The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope."

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