The Smalcald Articles – part 90

Scripture Text: Luke 7:48–50

Our sins seem infinite when we consider our thoughts, words, and deeds: the things we think, and say, and do; the things we should have thought, should have done, and should have said.

The Smalcald Articles – part 89

Scripture Text: Acts 2:37–39

Repentance and confession are not things we do simply because it is that time of the week. These things happen when we have a heartfelt sadness for sin.

The Smalcald Articles – part 88

Scripture Text: Isaiah 43:25

I suppose the desire to repent should be considered a good thing. However, basing the forgiveness of sin on this aspiration or on any other so-called good work is not good news. It is not the gospel.

The Smalcald Articles – part 87

Scripture Text: 1 John 2:2

Again, the object of this kind of religion is self; it is about how much devotion or how many deeds a person can muster. Further, will that be enough to appease God’s wrath?

The Smalcald Articles – part 85

Scripture Text: Galatians 2:16

The object of our faith is Christ, not our works of the law. We are justified by faith in him, not by striving to be better. That would be putting faith in our own deeds instead of in the goodness and justice of Christ.

The Smalcald Articles – part 84

Scripture Text: Job 19:25–27

I do not need to earn my salvation or prove, somehow, that I will do better. God is not subordinate to my actions, as though I need to do anything for him to be disposed to me in a favorable way.

The Smalcald Articles – part 82

Scripture Text: Matthew 6:25–33

Simply put: if you are acting in your own power, relying upon yourself to be a good person, you are sunk. From the moment you were born, you have never been good enough...

The Smalcald Articles – part 81

Scripture Text: Matthew 27:3–5

Judas sold out Jesus, his rabbi and Lord, for thirty pieces of silver. Would his Lord not forgive him for doing so? Of course, Jesus would forgive his disciple; he loved him.

The Smalcald Articles – part 80

Scripture Text: Ephesians 2:8

Knowledge of one’s sin is necessary but it is insufficient for salvation. Repentance from sin is also indispensable but regret and penance combined will not do for salvation.

The Smalcald Articles – part 78

Scripture Text: Romans 3:10–12

No one is exempt; all are born in sin and captivated by it, until they have faith. Even then, the forgiveness of God is necessary, for saints are still sinners. But here is the difference: they are repentant sinners.

The Smalcald Articles – part 77

Scripture Text: Romans 13:11

God uses his law to demolish the false righteousness of so-called saints and sinners too. He uses his Word to awaken us from the death of spiritual sleep. The effect is not that of a gentle alarm clock but rather, a jackhammer that jolts us into consciousness.

The Smalcald Articles – part 76

Scripture Text: Luke 18:13

The law’s job is to reveal sin and the wrath of God, and to convict the world of its unrighteousness and the judgment to come. That office is not closed.

The Smalcald Articles – part 74

Scripture Text: Ephesians 2:4–5

Justification always comes through faith in God’s gracious promises in Christ. Being right with God is never a result of one’s devotion to God. The opposite is the case on two levels.

The Smalcald Articles – part 73

Scripture Text: Romans 7:21

Let us be clear. We are all sinners, saved by the grace of God. Sin has produced a world of wickedness in a single human heart, let alone in all of humanity.

The Smalcald Articles – part 72

Scripture Text: Galatians 2:20–21

It is not in our nature to love God or do good. That old nature must die, so that a new nature may be formed in us—a righteous nature given to us, that may love God. Working at it will not make us God fearing or good people.

The Smalcald Articles – part 71

Scripture Text: John 15:5

We may do some good on our own. For example, our own free will may be at work in civil matters. You may determine whether or not you will pay your taxes or stop when the light is red or if you will provide some service to your country.

The Smalcald Articles – part 70

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 11:27–30

You will recall that we are dealing with theological errors that were refuted in Luther’s “Smalcald Articles.” We have seen that these errors were largely due to being in conflict with the chief article.

The Smalcald Articles – part 69

Scripture Text: Romans 3:21–22

We have already seen how human nature is not equal to the task. But even if some person is able to live a perfectly sinless life, that person was born into sin (original sin), and so, remains a sinner.

The Smalcald Articles – part 68

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 2:14–16

People are able to choose to do some good but they are incapable of being good. Likewise, they are able to leave off from doing some evil, while remaining incapable of being sinners.

The Smalcald Articles – part 67

Scripture Text: Isaiah 50:4-5, 10

Though this passage in Isaiah depicts the coming Messiah, it may also be seen as a model for the godly life. Within it, we see that human beings have the capacity to learn and to think.

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