#3 Christian Holiness Consists of Faith in Christ (Justification)

For Christian holiness, or the holiness common to Christendom, is found where the Holy Spirit gives people faith in Christ and thus sanctifies them, Acts 15 [:9], that is, he renews heart, soul, body, work, and conduct, inscribing the commandments of God not on tables of stone, but in hearts of flesh, II Corinthians 3 [:3]. Or, if I may speak plainly, he imparts true knowledge of God, according to the first table, so that those whom he enlightens with true faith can resist all heresies, overcome all false ideas and errors, and thus remain pure in faith in opposition to the devil. He also bestows strength, and comforts timid, despondent, weak consciences against the accusation and turmoil of sin, so that the souls do not succumb or despair, and also do not become terrified of torment, pain, death, and the wrath and judgment of God, but rather, comforted and strengthened in hope, they cheerfully, boldly, and joyfully overcome the devil. He also imparts true fear and love of God, so that we do not despise God and become irritated and angry with his wondrous judgments, but love, praise, thank, and honor him for all that occurs, good or evil. That is called new holy life in the soul, in accordance with the first table of Moses. It is also called tres virtutes theologicas, “the three principal virtues of Christians,” namely, faith, hope, and love; and the Holy Spirit, who imparts, does, and effects this (gained for us by Christ) is therefore called “sanctifier” or “life-giver.” For the old Adam is dead and cannot do it, and in addition has to learn from the law that he is unable to do it and that he is dead; he would not know this of himself. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.145-146)

Picture:  John the Baptist brings a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Book of Concord Bible Class #12: Article 22

This Bible study examines Augsburg Confession article XXII. Both Kinds in the Sacrament.

Quiz #12 (yellow sheet):   Quiz-12-for-Dec-8-Augsburg-Confession-Summary.pdf
Overhead 1: AC-articles-22-23.pdf
Overhead 2:  https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.144.60/551.add.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Winceslaus-Hollar-Illustration-of-first-21-articles.pdf
Handout 1: Handout-Articles-of-the-Augsburg-Confession-Overview-Nov-3.pdf

The picture by Winceslaus Hollar from Wikipedia on the The Augsburg Confession and is located at University of Toronto.

For The Church, General Prayer 2

ALMIGHTY God, Who hast sent Thine Only-Begotten Son, and hast revealed Him as Creator of all things, look upon this Vine, which Thy right hand hath planted, prune away the thorns from it, bring forth its branches in might, and give them the fruit of truth; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.  (Oremus, 1925, p.67).

#2 The Church is a Holy Christian People

But since we use this meaningless word “church” {ecclesia}  in the Children’s Creed, the common man thinks of the stone house called a church, as painted by the artists; or, at best, they paint the apostles, disciples, and the mother of God, as on Pentecost, with the Holy Spirit hovering over them. This is still bearable; but they are the holy Christian people of a specific time, in this case, the beginning. Ecclesia, however, should mean the holy Christian people, not only of the days of the apostles, who are long since dead, but to the end of the world, so that there is always a holy Christian people on earth, in whom Christ lives, works, and rules, per redemptionem, “through grace and the remission of sin,” and the Holy Spirit, per vivificationem et sanctificationem, “through daily purging of sin and renewal of life,” so that we do not remain in sin but are enabled and obliged to lead a new life, abounding in all kinds of good works, as the Ten Commandments or the two tables of Moses’ law command, and not in old, evil works. That is St. Paul’s teaching. But the pope, with his followers, has applied both the name and the image of the church to himself and to his vile, accursed mob, under the meaningless word ecclesia, “church,” etc. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.144-145)

Picture:  The baptismal font was made of wood in 1864.  It stands in the middle of the narthex, so that all who enter the church pass by it..

Book of Concord Bible Class #11: Summary of Articles 1-21

This Bible study examines the summary of the doctrines in articles 1-21.

Quiz #11 (grey sheet): Quiz-11-for-Dec-1-Augsburg-Confession-Art-21-and-Summary.pdf
Handout 1: Handout-Articles-of-the-Augsburg-Confession-Overview-Nov-3.pdf
Overhead 1: AC-articles-18-21.pdf
Overhead 2 (Jacob’s review of accept and reject):  Augsburg-and-Confutation-b.pdf
Overhead 3 (Roman Confutation from “Sources and Contexts”):  Confutation-Art-4-to-6.pdf

Note:  I apologize for the organ playing covering up the Bible class dialog for the last 16 minutes.  Once again, I forgot to turn off the upstairs congregational microphone during Bible class.

For The Church, General Prayer 1

VISIT, O Lord, this Vine, which Thou hast brought out of the Egypt of troubles with Thy strong right hand; that quickened by the light of Thy countenance, it may be glad with the plenteousness of good fruits in Thee; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.  (Oremus: Collects, Devotions, Litanies From Ancient and Modern Sources, Edited by Paul Zeller Strodach, Augsburg Publishing House, 1925).

#1 A Communion of Saints

Well then, setting aside various writings and analyses of the word “church,” we shall this time confine ourselves simply to the Children’s Creed, which says, “I believe in one holy Christian church, the communion of saints.” Here the creed clearly indicates what the church is, namely, a communion of saints, that is, a crowd assembly of people who are Christians and holy, which is called a Christian holy assembly, or church….  . Now there are many peoples in the world; the Christians, however, are a people with a special call and are therefore called not just ecclesia, “church,” or “people,” but sancta catholica Christiana, that is, “a Christian holy people” who believe in Christ. That is why they are called a Christian people and have the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies them daily, not only through the forgiveness of sin acquired for them by Christ (as the Antinomians foolishly believe), but also through the abolition, the purging, and the mortification of sins, on the basis of which they are called a holy people. Thus the “holy Christian church” is synonymous with a Christian and holy people or, as one is also wont to express it, with “holy Christendom,” or “whole Christendom.” The Old Testament uses the term “God’s people. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.143-144)

Picture:  In June of 2019, our congregation took a road trip to St. Louis.  This year’s pictures are from a tour of Historic Trinity Evangelical Lutheran in the Soulard Market area.  The first records of this congregation date to 1839 establishing it as the oldest Lutheran congregation west of the Mississippi.  O.H. Walther was installed as her first pastor on June 9, 1839.  The present structure is third church building and dates to 1864.  There was a building restoration in 1980, but the pulpit, baptismal font, etc. still date from 1842.  C.F.W. Walther was the congregation’s second pastor.