Dear Congregational Family,
1. The Augsburg Confession: On June 25, 1530 the leaders of what was becoming the Lutheran Church at the time of the Reformation, presented what became known as the “Augsburg Confession.” This was presented to Charles V, who was the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, in response to his request for a clear statement of what the “Lutherans” believed. This lengthy document laid out with great clarity, detail, and Scriptural support the theological positions of the Lutheran Church.
It stated, “We offer and present a confession of our pastors’ and preachers’ teaching and of our own faith, setting forth how and in what manner, on the basis of Holy Scriptures, these things are preached, taught, communicated, and embraced in our lands, principalities, dominions, cities, and territories.”
One of the most important statements was the one on “justification” which was the main issue of the Reformation. They declared, “Our churches also teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works but are freely justified for Christ’s sake through faith when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven on account of Christ, who by his death made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in his sight. (Romans 3 & 4)”
The key word was “imputes” which meant that God credits a believer with the righteousness of God and one is saved by grace alone through faith alone. At the time, the Roman Catholic Church was using the word “infuse” which meant that God would infuse some grace into a person, but then they would need to complete/earn their salvation/righteous through good deeds of their own. The Reformers were adamant that salvation was by grace alone! It does not require nor rest upon the good efforts of humanity, or else there would be no hope of salvation for anyone.
2. Dr. Don Bierle: Recently Dr. Bierle taught during our Sunday School hour. Many of you were able to attend and greatly appreciated his excellent research and teaching. His book “Surprised by Faith” and resource materials are now in our church library and you may check them out.
3. Youth Convention: Next week I will be with our youth at the FLY (Free Lutheran Youth) Convention in Estes Park, CO. Look for some pictures next week from the Rocky Mountains! Pray for our youth that God would be preparing their hearts to receive from Him, and to worship Him. This might well be a spiritual high point in the life of many.
4. Sermon text: This Sunday, the main Scripture passage for the message will be Luke 9:51-62. A number of you mentioned your appreciation of having this in advance in order to read and meditate on it ahead of time.
God bless you as we continue,
“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God”
Dear Congregational Family,