#30 This Doctrine, So Sweet and So Filled With Comfort

With gratitude and with a sure confidence, therefore, let us accept this doctrine, so sweet and so filled with comfort, which teaches that Christ became a curse for us, that is, a sinner worthy of the wrath of God; that He clothed Himself in our person, laid our sins upon His own shoulders, and said: “I have committed the sins that all men have committed.” Therefore He truly became accursed according to the Law, not for Himself but, as Paul says, ὑπὲρ ἡμω̂ν. For unless He had taken upon Himself my sins, your sins, and the sins of the entire world, the Law would have had no right over Him, since it condemns only sinners and holds only them under a curse. Therefore He could neither have become a curse nor have died, since the cause of the curse and of death is sin, of which He was innocent. But because He took upon Himself our sins, not by compulsion but of His own free will, it was right for Him to bear the punishment and the wrath of God—not for His own Person, which was righteous and invincible and therefore could not become guilty, but for our person.  (Luther’s Works, v.26, p.283-284)

Picture: This Lord’s Supper scene which is inset in their altar is three-dimensional.  Even the faces of the disciples not facing the congregation were completed by the artist.

#29 If the Doctrine of Justification is Sound, So Are the Others

As I often warn, therefore, the doctrine of justification must be learned diligently. For in it are included all the other doctrines of our faith; and if it is sound, all the others are sound as well. Therefore when we teach that men are justified through Christ and that Christ is the Victor over sin, death, and the eternal curse, we are testifying at the same time that He is God by nature.

From this it is evident enough how horribly blind and wicked the papists were when they taught that these fierce and mighty tyrants—sin, death, and the curse—who swallow up the whole human race, are to be conquered, not by the righteousness of the divine Law (which, even though it is just, good, and holy, cannot do anything but subject one to a curse) but by the righteousness of human works, such as fasts, pilgrimages, rosaries, vows, etc. But, I ask you, who has ever been found who conquered sin, death, etc., if he was equipped with this armor? In Eph. 6:13 ff. Paul describes a far different armor to be used against these savage beasts. By putting us, naked and without the armor of God, up against these invincible and almighty tyrants, these blind men and leaders of the blind (Matt. 15:14) have not only handed us over to them to be devoured but have also made us ten times greater and worse sinners than murderers or harlots. For it belongs exclusively to the divine power to destroy sin and abolish death, to create righteousness and grant life. This divine power they have attributed to our own works, saying: “If you do this or that work, you will conquer sin, death, and the wrath of God.” In this way they have made us true God by nature! Here the papists, under the Christian name, have shown themselves to be seven times greater idolaters than the Gentiles. What happens to them is what happens to the sow, which “is washed only to wallow in the mire” (2 Peter 2:22). And, as Christ says (Luke 11:24–26), after a man has fallen from faith, the evil spirit returns to the house from which he was expelled and brings along seven other spirits more evil than himself and dwells there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. (Luther’s Works, v.26, p.283)

Picture: Cross and crown

For Forgiveness. 1

CLEANSE us, O Lord, from our secret faults, by purifying our conscience which is stained with its own defilements; set free Thy servants also from the dominion of their enemies, and forgive us those things which we have learned by the example of the wicked or have done through the persuasion of evil counsellors; that we, who confess Thee to be our own Lord, may never again experience the domination of sin; 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, 1925, p.61).

For Forgiveness. 4

O LORD, the Expectation of our salvation: Receive the prayers of them that call upon Thee; Thou that art the Discoverer of hidden things, give ear to the hidden cry of the heart, that those things which we tremble to have committed and blush to confess, Thou, our King, mayest forgive of Thy clemency, and blot out of Thy goodness; so that our supplication may rise to Thee in the morning, and the good gifts of Thy mercy may descend on us right early; 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, 1925, p.62).

#28 Those Who Deny the Divinity of Christ lose all Christianity

This is the chief doctrine of the Christian faith. The sophists have completely obliterated it, and today the fanatics are obscuring it once more. Here you see how necessary it is to believe and confess the doctrine of the divinity of Christ. When Arius denied this, it was necessary also for him to deny the doctrine of redemption. For to conquer the sin of the world, death, the curse, and the wrath of God in Himself—this is the work, not of any creature but of the divine power. Therefore it was necessary that He who was to conquer these in Himself should be true God by nature. For in opposition to this mighty power—sin, death, and the curse—which of itself reigns in the whole world and in the entire creation, it is necessary to set an even higher power, which cannot be found and does not exist apart from the divine power. Therefore to abolish sin, to destroy death, to remove the curse in Himself, to grant righteousness, to bring life to light (2 Tim. 1:10), and to bring the blessing in Himself, that is, to annihilate these things and to create those—all these are works solely of the divine power. Since Scripture attributes all these to Christ, therefore He Himself is Life, Righteousness, and Blessing, that is, God by nature and in essence. Hence those who deny the divinity of Christ lose all Christianity and become Gentiles and Turks through and through. (Luther’s Works, v.26, p.282-283)

Picture:  flower

For Forgiveness. 3

HEAR us when we call, O Lord Jesus Christ, Who art our Righteousness; that as Thou didst for the wicked undergo all miseries, so Thou wouldest on the penitent bestow all mercies; Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.  (Oremus, 1925, p.61).

#27 The Church Is Not Recognized by Relics

Meanwhile, pay no heed to the papists’ holy possessions from dead saints, from the wood of the holy cross. For these are just as often bones taken from a carrion pit as bones of saints, and just as often wood taken from gallows as wood from the holy cross. There is nothing but fraud in this. The pope thus tricks people out of their money and alienates them from Christ. Even if it were a genuine holy possession, it would nonetheless not sanctify anyone. But when you are condemned, cursed, reviled, slandered, and plagued because of Christ, you are sanctified. It mortifies the old Adam and teaches him patience, humility, gentleness, praise and thanks, and good cheer in suffering. That is what it means to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit and to be renewed to a new life in Christ; in that way we learn to believe in God, to trust him, to love him, and to place our hope in him, as Romans 5 [:1–5] says, “Suffering produces hope,” etc.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.165)

Picture: In the small museum they had a hand-made altar cloth that was now retired.  The thorn crown with nails and the multi-colored fringe closely resembles our paraments.

#26 Seventh, the Church Is Recognized by The Sacred Cross of Affliction

Seventh, the holy Christian people are externally recognized by the holy possession of the sacred cross. They must endure every misfortune and persecution, all kinds of trials and evil from the devil, the world, and the flesh (as the Lord’s Prayer indicates) by inward sadness, timidity, fear, outward poverty, contempt, illness, and weakness, in order to become like their head, Christ. And the only reason they must suffer is that they steadfastly adhere to Christ and God’s word, enduring this for the sake of Christ, Matthew 5 [:11], “Blessed are you when men persecute you on my account.” They must be pious, quiet, obedient, and prepared to serve the government and everybody with life and goods, doing no one any harm. No people on earth have to endure such bitter hate; they must be accounted worse than Jews, heathen, and Turks. In summary, they must be called heretics, knaves, and devils, the most pernicious people on earth, to the point where those who hang, drown, murder, torture, banish, and plague them to death are rendering God a service. No one has compassion on them; they are given myrrh and gall to drink when they thirst. And all of this is done not because they are adulterers, murderers, thieves, or rogues, but because they want to have none but Christ, and no other God. Wherever you see or hear this, you may know that the holy Christian church is there, as Christ says in Matthew 5 [:11–12], “Blessed are you when men revile you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” This too is a holy possession whereby the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies his people, but also blesses them.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.164-165)

Picture: Full Veronica window:  “According to Church tradition, Veronica was moved with sympathy when she saw Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha and gave him her veil that he might wipe his forehead. Jesus accepted the offering, held it to his face, and then handed it back to her—the image of his face miraculously impressed upon it. This piece of cloth became known as the Veil of Veronica”  (Wikipedia).

For the Ministry of Mercy.

MOST MERCIFUL FATHER, Who dost commit to our love and care our fellowmen in their necessities: Graciously be with and prosper all those who are seeking and ministering to the sick and needy; let their ministry be abundantly blessed in bringing ease to the suffering, comfort to the sorrowing, and peace to the dying; and themselves be inspired with the consecration to selfless service, knowing that inasmuch as they do it unto the least of the Master’s brethren, they do it unto Him; through Him Who came to minister Thy Love unto men, even Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.   (Oremus, 1925, p.76-77).

Book of Concord, Bible Class #27: Ap. VII and VIII. The Church

This Bible study examines Apology, articles VII and VIII.  The Church.

Quiz #26 (tan sheet): Quiz-26-for-Apr-5-2020-Apology-IV-continued.pdf
Text of the Apology VII and VII:  Apology-VII-and-VIII-b.pdf

Review 1 for Quiz: Apology-IV-III-31-34-and-Luke-7.pdf
Review 2 for Quiz: Apology-IV-Continued-March-29-Reply-to-the-Opponents.pdf

Note 1: A Matins service was also video recorded and is available at trinityh.org, under the tab, Sermons
Note 2: This is the audio only post.  The vimeo video is also available.   Click here –>  Vimeo Video Class #27