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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Invocation of Saints part 18

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John 6:35–40

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Through indulgences they say that they apply the merits of the saints. Gabriel Biel, the interpreter of the canon of the Mass, confidently declares: “According to the order instituted by God, we should betake ourselves to the aid of the saints, in order that we may be saved by their merits and vows.” These are the words of Gabriel. Even more absurd things may be read here and there in the books and sermons of the adversaries. What is this if not to make the saints propitiators? If we are to trust that we are saved by the merits of saints then they are considered altogether equal to Christ.

Pulling It Together

Jesus said that whoever comes to him would never again hunger or thirst (John 6:35). Now that is satisfaction: to never be hungry or thirsty—and to never worry about being filled. But Jesus is not talking about the belly, otherwise he would not have called himself “the bread of life.” In this paragraph of the gospel, Jesus is speaking about eternal life and how we will be resurrected at the end. Jesus teaches us that there is a bread more important than the loaf in the bread box. Sufficient quantity of baked bread will keep us alive for 70 or 80 years (Psa 90:10). Feasting on the bread of life will make us live forever. Everyone who looks for life in the true bread “that comes down from heaven” will never die (John 11:26).

We are forgiven, made righteous, and saved through Christ alone. The Bread of Life is the only satisfaction for our sins. No other life, however meritorious, virtuous, or pious satisfies the law's demand (Rom 6:23) and turns away God’s just wrath. So believe and be satisfied.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for filling me with your own Spirit. Amen.

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Re-Thinking Confirmation: A Practical Guide will help you think through your confirmation ministry and offers suggestions to design, implement, and lead an effective confirmation program.


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