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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Church part 8

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1 Corinthians 12:4-11

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church 

Jerome says, “The sinner, therefore, who has been soiled with any blotch cannot be called a member of the Church of Christ, neither can he be said to be subject to Christ.” Although hypocrites and wicked people are members of this true Church according to outward religious ceremony, it is necessary to define the Church according that which is the living body of Christ, that which is in name and in fact the Church. And for this there are many reasons.

It is necessary to understand the main thing that makes us members, that is, living members of the Church. If we define the Church as only an outward organization of both the godly and wicked, people will not understand that the kingdom of Christ is righteousness of heart and the gift of the Holy Spirit. They will suppose that it is only the outward observance of certain forms of worship and ceremonies.

Pulling It Together

The Body of Christ is not an organization that merely goes through the motions of ceremonies. The Church has gifts in the heart, namely, the Holy Spirit and faith. The kingdom of Christ is not only physical and organizational, it is chiefly spiritual. Therefore Christ rules inwardly, strengthening and comforting hearts, and imparting the Holy Spirit and various spiritual gifts. These gifts are given for the common good of the fellowship of the Church. All true members of this blessed communion of saints are ministers and priests (1 Pet 2:9). So God has given each of them gifts of the Spirit, to each member according to God’s will, so that the whole Body of Christ serves and is being served. Members of the kingdom of Christ do not go through the motions; they serve with the entire variety of gifts as God empowers them.

Prayer: Invest in me of your Spirit, Lord, so that I might serve you in your Church. Amen.

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