Like Abraham, the Lord has made some extraordinary promises to you. Your sins are forgiven. You will be raised from the dead and given eternal life in God’s kingdom that has no end. You have been rescued from sin, death, and hell because Christ has died and Christ has risen. The Gospel preached to you declares it. The water and Word of your Baptism guarantees it. Believing and trusting in these promises of God is thus counted to you as righteousness.
Certain holy things mark the communion of saints. How many of these holy things there are can vary in the reformers’ discussion. Far from being some nebulous concept and invisible reality with little or no definite connection to the solid world of human experience, the Lutheran reformers pointed to an identifiable, locatable church, which was Christ’s own church as his words rattled ears, as his gifts met and hallowed embodied sinners, and as those so touched came to speak and sing of their incarnate Lord, and to suffer alongside him.
by Rev. Travis Berg Modern life is compartmentalized to the point of schizophrenia. The various areas of our lives like our jobs, our families, and even the faith seem to be discrete and disconnected from each other. Compartmentalization has many benefits, but one of its drawbacks is that we end up leading many different lives… Read More >
There’s not merely one way that God ensures the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus is delivered unto us. Instead, He provides it to us in plentiful ways, through abundant (even superabundant!) means.
Word and pray for the one being baptized. He mentions that some of the other “external things” were less important. In our day, some of these practices have come back. Other new ones have been added. “Each generation trims a little, adds a little (extolling is never finished); but always the actual Baptism itself remains the same: ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph 4:5).”
A transformation in Luther’s thinking, which he describes as a personal rebirth, transpired when he came to understand God’s righteousness as a “passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith.”
While circumcision and the Old Testament laws and ceremonies differ greatly from the means of grace in the New Testament, one thing remains the same: faith alone saves.
When the attacks of the evil one assail us and in times of thanksgiving, we can trust in the One who is faithful and has promised to be with us always and rejoice with Luther that “Our victory has been won; the Kingdom ours remaineth.”
Although Luther had initially believed that his condemnation at Worms was the end of his life and Reformation, it proved ultimately to be merely the end of the beginning.
After years of much prayer, meditation, and struggle, Luther discovered the true meaning of God’s Word: “Then finally God had mercy on me, and I began to understand that the righteousness of God is a gift of God by which a righteous man lives, namely faith.”