Posts Posted in June 2015View All Posts >>

The key phraseology of Paul is “through faith” or “by faith.” He mentions it 31 times. Not only Paul though, since James and Peter each use the phrase once, and the writer of Hebrews uses it 24 times. More
Our lives come from God. Every good and perfect gift comes to us through the Father. (James 1:17) Well, except salvation and righteousness; we must work for those. No! Heaven forbid! More
Even if you had to do some things in order for the promise of forgiveness to apply to you, how would you know when you had done enough good? At any rate, merit has been taken away from us... More
Melancthon may as well have said that he could quote Paul, Augustine, and the Fathers all day long, but see here! Peter too, and the prophets also, lend support for justification by faith. More
Only the high priest could represent the people before God in the temple. But Jesus, the “great high priest,” represents us before the Father in heaven. We cannot represent ourselves. More
Some people rely on religion as a way to gain peace or go to heaven—or rather, not go to hell. This puts the cart before the horse. Instead, they should be interested in being with God. More
Søren Kierkegaard wrote in Sickness Unto Death that we acquire a new appreciation of ourselves when the self is viewed “directly in the sight of God.” When we see ourselves as God sees us, everything changes. More
It is easy to admit that everyone is a sinner, since we see the evidence in the news, in the lives of those we love, and certainly in our own lives. Scripture also plainly states... More
Imagine a man condemned to spend the rest of his life in prison. One day, the word comes from the jailer that the president has pardoned his offense. It is too good to be true. More
What else do I need to do? Nothing. Christ has done it all. He he has taken unrighteous sinners and assigned his own righteousness to their account. More
Last summer we gathered as a Church Body (NALC) in convocation in the beautiful, historic city of Charleston, South Carolina. We were warmly welcomed by everyone we met, including hotel personnel, restaurant staff, people from the Citadel, and local residents. We wandered through the charming historic district and marveled at the old buildings so full of character and stories waiting to be told. We even rode on a carriage drawn by a ... More
Even our currency proclaims Christ alone. “In God we trust.” What is unwritten is that we do not trust in money or what it buys—or who does the buying. Yet when it comes to religion, we want to trust in the things we do, as though they can buy salvation. More
Faith is not ineffectual—or as some insinuate, “pie in the sky.” Faith is a light, life, and force in a person as to renew the heart, mind, and spirit. (1Thess 5:23) Faith makes new people of those who believe in Christ More
Saving faith does not happen because one performs the right deeds or recites the correct formula or prayer. Nor does it come about all at once. More
Daily sacrifices were performed at the temple in Jerusalem because God commanded. Sacrifice was done as an outward expression of grateful dependence upon God. More
Even the saints of old understood the kind of worship that expected blessings from God. It may not have seemed like they understood anything but a quid pro quo religion. More
Justifying faith, properly understood, includes these three things. First, that a promise has been made. God has promised to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness in order to reconcile the world to himself through Christ. More
If a promise is made, faith—not work—is required. This is true in human relations and it is no less true in the relationship between the human and the divine. More
We should certainly offer our whole selves to God (Rom 12:1). Yet, to imagine that this appeases God's wrath or earns justification and salvation is self-deception. More
Knowing stories about Jesus is not faith. Faith is a matter of the heart over the head. Faith trusts that God loves me even when I think that he cannot. More
Ironically, so-called personal faith does not rely upon personal works but upon the person of Christ. It is solely because of him that God is reconciled and made favorable toward us. More
How misleading—and even rude—it would be to invite people to a party and then demand that they serve the guests in order to stay. More
Circumcision was a seal or sign of Abraham's faith in God's promise. It was not a requirement for earning God's grace. Rather, it was a sign that Abraham believed what God promised. More
The law is always accusing us of wrongdoing. That is the law's job. Furthermore, we know the law is right. In ourselves, we have no leg to stand on. The law has us dead to rights. More
God is concerned, though not primarily so, with the things that we do. The external matters such as are found in the second table of the law are there—in second place—for a reason. More
The words of Jesus are enough. If it is Jesus who makes us free, how dare we try to make ourselves free through works of the law? So some say, “Yes, he sets you free but you must add works to remain free.” More
Lutherans insist that Christians should do good works. However, they also confess that these works do not earn God's grace and save them from sin and death. More
An external religion does not earn the grace of God. Therefore, anyone merely keeping appearances, even if they strive to keep the commandments, is still in sin. More
The first use of the law is social in nature, for it creates boundaries and consequences for those who do wrong. This is as far as reason or earthly righteousness goes. By itself, it can never create true love for God. More
Just as people are not forgiven of their sins because of civil deeds and religious works, these works also will never make them righteous before the holy God. Their works and their external piety, no matter how fine, will never make them holy on the inside More
There is an earthly righteousness that comes from human work and ability. Keeping the commandments, being a good citizen, exercising control over what is said, and minding one's own affairs with diligence and humility are examples of this kind of righteousness. More

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