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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Article 21: Concerning the Worship of Saints

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Romans 8:31-34

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

Concerning the Worship of the Saints

Concerning the worship of saints, Lutherans teach that the saints of old should be remembered so that we may imitate their faith and good works, as is our calling. This is similar to the Emperor following the example of David by defending the empire from Turkish invasion. For both are kings. But the Scripture does not teach the invocation of saints, nor to ask the help of saints. It declares that we have Christ alone as Mediator, Atonement, High Priest, and Intercessor (1Tim 2:5-6). We are to pray to him who has promised that he will hear our prayer. He approves as highest worship that we call upon him in all of our afflictions. “If any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” etc (1 John 2:1).

Pulling It Together

Lutherans encourage an old tradition: imitate those who imitate Christ (1Cor 4:16; 11:1). We hold up the lives of the saints as models of faith to be followed. But we do not venerate the saints or pray to them. Scripture exhorts us to pray to God, for he is the one who both wants to hear our prayers and is able and willing to answer them. He graciously gives us all good things (Rom 8:32), interceding before his Father on our behalf (Rom 7:26; 8:34; Heb 7:25). Since God is for us, who could possibly prevail against us? For that matter, who could secure for us anything more than the one who sits at the right hand of his Father? Besides this, both Scripture and our doctrine of justification by faith forbid the work of any other to eclipse the honor that belongs to Christ alone. 

Prayer: You alone are God, so to you I lift up my prayers, giving thanks that you both hear and are eager to dispense your mercy and grace. Amen. 

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