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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 59

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John 5:39–40

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

When we distinguish the pope’s teaching from, and compare it to Holy Scripture, it is clear that the pope’s teaching, at best, has been taken from the pagan law of the empire. It deals with political matters, judgments, and rights, as the decretals show. Consequently, it teaches about ceremonies of the churches, vestments, food, staff, and numerous other trivial, theatrical, and comical things. In all these things, nothing at all is mentioned about Christ, faith, and the commandments of God.

Pulling It Together

Sola Christus (Christ alone) was a predominant teaching of the Reformation. It should still be the foremost teaching of the Church today, as Christ is the central teaching of Scripture, and because the Church should always be reforming (Ecclesia semper reformanda est). Reformation happens when Christ is the chief teaching of the church. When matters of performance and concerns over procedure are dominant, they can eventually be considered central to salvation. Sola Christus means that salvation is located in Christ alone, not in mundane civil, or even religious, concerns.

Prayer: Reform your Church, O Lord, through Christ alone. Amen.

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