The Smalcald Articles – part 47

Scripture Text: Mark 10:46–52

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for well-meaning people to be caught up in religious practices, thinking they are doing right, while acting unrighteously. Add to this that they are deceiving themselves.

The Smalcald Articles – part 46

Scripture Text: 1 Kings 19:1–8

Monasteries and convents had become, by Luther’s time, places to earn one’s salvation. In other words, the sacrifice of living such a life was a merit of one’s virtue, imagined as deserving salvation.

The Smalcald Articles – part 45

Scripture Text: Psalm 145:10–13

Habemus ad Dominum. This is part of the Preface prayer, just before we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” in the liturgy. In English, we sing, “We lift them to the Lord.”

The Smalcald Articles – part 44

Scripture Text: Mark 6:53–56

Jesus’ disciples had just seen him walking on the sea, did not recognize him, and were terrified. Yet the people of Gennesaret “immediately recognized him” and were overjoyed at his presence.

The Smalcald Articles – part 43

Scripture Text: Romans 8:33–37

Only Jesus Christ is our mediator. If he intercedes for us (and he does), we need no other. He requires no assistance; he is up to the task. So, give him the honor of calling upon him in your time of need.

The Smalcald Articles – part 42

Scripture Text: Philippians 3:8–11

Lutherans commend honoring the saints by remembering them, and emulating godly lives. We disapprove of praying to saints and angels. Scripture does not in any way teach us to do so.

The Smalcald Articles – part 41

Scripture Text: 1 Timothy 2:5–6

God determines the payment for sin. The Church does not do so, nor does a pope. We know this because this is what the Bible teaches. God’s Word does not teach us to trust in the goodness of either religion or religious people.

The Smalcald Articles – part 40

Scripture Text: Romans 5:8–11

There is a painting that hangs above the altar in St. Peter and Paul Church in Weimar, Germany. In that painting, Luther is pointing to an open Bible in his hand.

The Smalcald Articles – part 38

Scripture Text: Revelation 14:6–7

We are all on pilgrimage—to appear before God in judgment. That Day is approaching, whether or not we feel its nearness. Every day, we are miles closer in our journeys.

The Smalcald Articles – part 37

Scripture Text: Romans 10:14–17

Again, what has this to do with Scripture? What does the Word of God say about the matter? Someone says that a spirit told them to do something. How convenient.

The Smalcald Articles – part 35

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 11:23–26

See where human reason takes you without the Word of God? One invention demands another until you have a system of traditions that cannot be supported from the Scripture.

The Smalcald Articles – part 33

Scripture Text: Mark 14:22–25

What Christ actually instituted is sometimes quite different from what is practiced. So, let us be clear on what was actually done by our Lord, instead of what has been invented since.

The Smalcald Articles – part 32

Scripture Text: Revelation 5:11–12

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.

The Smalcald Articles – part 29

Scripture Text: John 14:6

The principal abuse of the Mass itself, was that it took the glory away from Christ. People are justified through faith in Christ alone, without the merit of additional sacrifices and works

The Smalcald Articles – part 27

Scripture Text: Mark 14:22–24

Christ’s words stand on their own; we do not need—nor should we—add anything to them in order to make them effective. The reason for this, is that it is his word that makes them effective.

The Smalcald Articles – part 26

Scripture Text: Hebrews 6:1–6

While it may be “omitted without sin and danger,” it may not be done without danger of sin. If people believe that Holy Communion is a work, a sacrifice done by a priest, and a service performed by themselves to receive God’s grace and forgiveness, then they are in real danger.

The Smalcald Articles – part 24

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 1:18–19

Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin. The blood of the perfect Lamb of God was the redemption price, liberating us from not only sin, but death and the devil to boot.

The Smalcald Articles – part 23

Scripture Text: John 20:31

Faith. Faith in Christ. Faith in Christ alone. This must not be yielded, else anything may be believed. A system of law, or works, or any human tradition could be said to lead to salvation.

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