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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Christ's Return for Judgment

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1 Corinthians 15:50-57

From the Confessions: The Chief Articles of Faith in the Augsburg Confession

Article 17: Concerning Christ's Return for Judgment

Lutherans also teach that on the Last Day (John 6:40) of the world, Christ will appear for judgment, and will raise all the dead. He will give eternal life and everlasting joys to the faithful and elect, but will condemn unbelievers and the demons to the hell of eternal punishment.

They condemn the fanatics, who think that those condemned with the demons will not suffer punishment. They also condemn those who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of a kingdom of the world, the ungodly being conquered.

Pulling It Together

Again, the theme of the Reformers in Wittenberg was faith. The standard of salvation and eternal life for Lutherans is always faith in God, not the lack of it nor of a reward for good works. On the Day of the Lord, Christ will return to judge both the living and all who have ever lived. Believers will be set apart for the eternal joys of heaven with God. Unbelievers will be condemned to an eternity of torment and separation from God. Only those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved from this damnation (Joel 2:32).

Contrary to what was being taught by some in the days of Luther (and is now being taught among even some Lutherans), Lutheran Christians do not believe that unbelievers will be saved along with the righteous. They also do not teach that an earthly, Christian kingdom will be established before Christ's return. The Lord's “kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

Prayer: Praise and honor is due to you, O Lord, for your just judgments. Amen. 

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Come, Lord Jesus answers the many questions that arise when modern readers look into the book of Revelation. In this book readers will come to understand the first-century context in which Revelation was written—and readers will join the holy choir in looking forward to the fulfillment of God's plan, offering our own invitation: "Come, Lord Jesus."

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2 Comments

1

Robert Solum

Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:41am

Mark, I have a problem with: Believers will be set apart for the eternal joys of heaven with God. Unbelievers will be condemned to an eternity of torment and separation from God. Only those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved from this damnation (Joel 2:32). and: Contrary to what was being taught by some in the days of Luther (and is now being taught among even some Lutherans), Lutheran Christians do not believe that unbelievers will be saved along with the righteous. My problem is the ideas above are fine for those introduced to Christianity but what about those who have never heard of it? Not only that but I think it is presumptuous for us (Lutherans) or anyone else to speak for God as to who will be saved and who won't. Robert E. Solum
2

Mark Ryman

Posted March 13, 2015 at 9:34am

Thank you for your comment, Robert. These writings are intended to state and make understandable what was written in the Lutheran Confessions. This is meant to help Lutherans, those who have been introduced to Christianity, understand not only what Lutherans believed at the time of the Reformation but also what those in the theological center of Lutheranism today also believe. For those who have not been introduced to the Christian Faith, we do well to teach them the law of God first. As for such admonition about the certainty of hell being presumptuous, this article in the Augsburg Confession simply states what Jesus said. Eg: Matthew 13:41-42, 49-50 and what what his apostles taught: Eg: Rev 21:8. My own comments state nothing further.

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