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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Invocation of Saints – part 4

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1 Corinthians 4:16–17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

The third honor is the imitation of their faith and other virtues, which all Christians should imitate according to their callings. The adversaries do not require these true honors. They only argue about invocation, which, even though it were not dangerous, is nevertheless unnecessary.

Pulling It Together

We have already noted two honors that we ought to give to the saints: thanksgiving and the strengthening of faith. Let us be clear what we mean by honor. The honor that we give to “sleeping” (1 Thes 4:13) saints is not the veneration of their images or praying to them. Rather, we give them the truer honor of thanking God for their lives, and strengthening our own faith by learning about their lives in the Scriptures and teaching them in the Church and home.

We now add a third honor to the other two: the imitation of the faith and virtues of the saints. This is true, not only of the saints of heaven but also, of the saints in the Church on earth. We ought to also give thanks for them, note their steadfast faith despite their human condition, and imitate their faith and other virtues by applying them to our various callings in the Church, home, business, and government. 

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to lead a life worthy of imitation. Amen.

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