A painting depicting the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession on June 25, 1530.
Bible Readings and Devotion for September 4, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your
print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for September 4, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
The central document of the Lutheran teachings is the Augsburg Confession. This was presented to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, on June 25, 1530. From this we continue to highlight the 4th and 6th articles or points of the Augsburg Confession as central to our connection with God. You can read the entire document in translation at this link: Click Link
Here are those two articles:
Article IV. Concerning Justification.
Likewise, they (the Lutheran Reformation Leaders) teach that human beings cannot be justified before God by their own powers, merits, or works. But they are justified as a gift on account of Christ through faith when they believe that they are received into grace and that their sins are forgiven on account of Christ, who by his death made satisfaction for our sins. God reckons this faith as righteousness (Romans 3:21-26 and 4:5).
Article VI. Concerning the New Obedience
Likewise, they teach that this faith is bound to yield good fruits and that it ought to do good works commanded by God on account of God’s will and not so that we may trust in these works to merit justification before God. For forgiveness of sins and justification are taken hold of by faith, as the saying of Christ also testifies Luke 17:10: “When you have done all [things] . . . say, ‘We are worthless slaves.’” The authors of the ancient church teach the same. For Ambrose says: “It is established by God that whoever believes in Christ shall be saved without work, by faith alone, receiving the forgiveness of sins as a gift.”
We highlight these because these reminds us that our relationship with God is first and foremost about what God has done for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is about God’s abundant grace which restores us to an eternal relationship with the Lord.
The role of good works and doing the right thing is not about trying to gain favor with God. Works are our God guided response to what he has first done for us. Our works are how we share God’s loving care with others.
Just as our works are a faithful response to God’s action for us, we must also realize another truth: we do not follow the commands of God simply for the sake of doing the action. In other words, our faith is not about following the rules. Rather, our faith is about being reconnected with Jesus. By being in a restored relationship with Jesus, we are given the ability to live according to God’s most excellent way.
I mention this because our reading from Luke 6 points to the greater purpose of observing the Sabbath. This, and other teachings of Jesus, teach us that the purpose of the Law of God is to bring us life. We don’t just do things for the sake of following rules. Faith in Jesus is not about following the rules. Faith in Jesus is not about trying to earn favor with God by, “doing the right thing.” It is about being reconciled to God through the saving work of Jesus. It is about being stirred to follow the way of Jesus in how we love, serve, worship, teach, and live. The commands of God are there to guide our response to what God has first done for us. As St. John teaches us in 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”
Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in the faith; strengthen me. I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you. In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have. I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; you are upright. With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give. Amen
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.