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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles part 40

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Romans 5:8–11

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Fifth are relics, in which there is found so much dishonesty and nonsense about the bones of dogs and horses, that even the devil has laughed at such deceit. Even if there were some good in them, they should have been condemned long ago. This is especially so since they have no basis in the Word of God. Being neither commanded nor counseled, they are entirely unnecessary and useless things. But the worst is that these relics are said to produce indulgence and the forgiveness of sins, that like the Mass, etc., they are a good work and service of God.

Pulling It Together

There is a painting that hangs above the altar in St. Peter and Paul Church in Weimar, Germany. In that painting, Luther is pointing to an open Bible in his hand. No doubt, the painter, Lucas Cranach the elder, and his son who finished the painting, meant to remind us to look to the Word of God. We must rely on what is written, not what is fabricated. Further, the painting makes clear that what Luther is pointing to is Scripture, that tells us how we are justified with God. The blood of Jesus Christ is central in the painting. Everything points to the cross—even the Word of God. We must remember that nothing else washes away sin but the blood of the Lamb of God.

Prayer: Help me remember, Lord Jesus, that you alone justify me to your Father. Amen.

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