Announcements for the week of March 15, 2015


(Tappert Edition)





Although the holy Fathers themselves had rites and traditions, they did not regard them as useful or necessary for justification. They did not obscure the glory or work of Christ but taught that we are justified by faith for Christ’s sake, not for the sake of these human rites. They observed these human rites because they were profitable for good order, because they gave the people a set time to assemble, because they provided an example of how all things could be done decently and in order in the churches, and finally because they helped instruct the common folk. For different seasons and various rites serve as reminders for the common folk.

For these reasons the Fathers kept ceremonies, and for the same reasons we also believe in keeping traditions. We are amazed when our opponents maintain that traditions have another purpose, namely, to merit the forgiveness of sins, grace and justification. What is this but honoring God “with gold and silver and precious stones,”  believing that he is reconciled by a variety of vestments, ornaments, and innumerable similar observances in the human traditions.

In Col. 2:23 Paul writes that traditions “have an appearance of wisdom,” and indeed they have. This good order is very becoming in the church and is therefore necessary. But because human reason does not understand the righteousness of faith, it naturally supposes that such works justify men and reconcile God.

Under this delusion the common people among the Israelites expanded such ceremonies, just as they have been  expanded among us in the monasteries. This is how human reason interprets fasting and bodily discipline. Though their purpose is to restrain the flesh, reason imagines that they are to be rites which justify, as Thomas writes, “Fasting avails to destroy and prevent guilt.”  This is what Thomas says. So men are deceived by the appearance of wisdom and righteousness in such works. (para.20-24)



15-03-15, Lent 4, BA-2015B


Announcements for the week of February 15, 2015



We have previously shown at length that men are justified by the faith that they have a gracious God not because of works but freely for Christ’s sake. This is definitely the teaching of the Gospel, for Paul clearly teaches (Eph. 2:8), “By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” and not of men. They say that men merit the forgiveness of sins by these human observances. What is this but to set up another justifier and mediator instead of Christ? Paul says to the Galatians (5:4), “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law.” That is, if by the observance of the law you think you deserve to be accounted righteous before God, then Christ is of no use to you, for why does anyone need Christ if he believes he is righteous by his own observance of the law?  God has appointed Christ as the mediator; he wants to be gracious to us through him, not through our own righteousness. These men believe that God is reconciled and gracious because of the traditions and not because of Christ. Thus they rob Christ of his honor as the mediator. (¶6-9)

15-02-15, Transfiguration, BA-2015B

Announcements for the week of August 25, 2013


13-08-25, Pentecost 12, BA-2013C


Apology, IV. Justification

Ps. 143:2, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for no man living is righteous before thee.” This absolutely denies any glory in man’s righteousness, even to all the saints and servants of God, if God does not forgive but judges and condemns their hearts. When David elsewhere boasts of his righteousness, he is speaking of his cause against the persecutors of God’s Word, not of his personal purity. He prays for the defense of God’s cause and his glory, as in Ps. 7:8, “Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.” Similarly, in Ps. 130:3 he says that no one can stand the judgment of God if he observes our sins, “If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?”

Job 9:28, “I feared all my works”; vv. 30–31, “If I wash myself with snow, and cleanse my hands with lye, yet thou wilt plunge me into a pit.” Prov. 20:9, “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

1 John 1:8, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” And in the Lord’s Prayer the saints pray for the forgiveness of sins; therefore saints have sins, too. (Tappert, 326-328)

Announcements for the week of July 28, 2013


13-07-28, Pentecost 10, BA-2013C


Apology, IV. Justification

The service and worship of the Gospel is to receive good things from God, while the worship of the law is to offer and present our goods to God. We cannot offer anything to God unless we have first been reconciled and reborn. The greatest possible comfort comes from this doctrine that the highest worship in the Gospel is the desire to receive forgiveness of sins, grace, and righteousness. About this worship Christ speaks in John 6:40, “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.” And the Father says (Matt. 17:5), “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Tappert, para. 310)

Announcements for the week of June 23, 2013

13-06-23, Pentecost 5, BA-2013C

Apology, IV. Justification

Finally, we would remind our readers that our opponents counsel pious consciences very badly when they teach that works merit the forgiveness of sins, because a conscience that seeks forgiveness through works cannot be sure that its work will satisfy God. It is always tormented and constantly invents other works and services until it despairs utterly.  Describing this process in Rom. 4:5ff., Paul proves that the promise of righteousness does not depend upon our works because we could never be sure that we have a gracious God. The law always accuses. Thus the promise would be vain and unsure. He concludes that not works but faith accepts the promised forgiveness of sins and righteousness of faith. This is what Paul really and truly means. This offers the greatest consolation to faithful consciences and illumines the glory of Christ, who was surely given to us that through him we might have grace, righteousness, and peace. (Tappert, para. 285)

Announcements for the week of April 7, 2013

13-04-07, Easter 2, BA-2013C

“Unless a man believes the article of justification, he actually does not believe any of the other articles of the Christian faith.  He may accept the articles…with a fides  humana (human faith), but he cannot accept them with the fides divina (divine faith), which the Holy Ghost produces, unless he believes in justification by faith, for only through faith in  justification does the Holy Spirit enter the heart (Gal. 3:1-3).”  (F. Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, Vol I, 140)

“True and False Religion”

I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.

John 14:6

How many religions exist in the world today?  I guess it depends who you ask.   Should you ask one who holds to the pluralism of the day, the answer would be many.  Should you ask a Christian, he will say that there are really only two religions in the world, the true religion (Christianity) and the false religion (all others, regardless of name).

The true religion, Christianity, teachings salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.  Christianity teaches that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  There are no other ways (Acts 4:12).

The false religion, that is, all other “religions,” teach salvation by what man does, even if it be so little that man does.  This teaches that man contributes in some way to his salvation.  This is a far cry from what the Bible teaches, that man cannot save Himself, even just a little bit (i.e. Ephesians 2:8-9).

Now ask the question, how many Christian denominations exist in Christendom today?  Again, I guess it depends who you ask.  Even thousands might be the answer according to some.

However, should one define Christendom as the body of Christ, there is only one, for there is only one Lord and one faith (Ephesians 4:4-6).

So why so many denominations?  Simply because not all have the same faith.  Not all hold to the one Lord.  Not all confess the same Christ.  Not all believe the Holy Scriptures.  Not all have the same doctrine.

Yet for us, there is one Christ.  There is one way of salvation.  It is not our way or the way of the world or the way of other so-called religions.  It is the way of Christ.   It is Christ!  Amen.


“Whenever you consider the doctrine of justification and wonder how or where or in what condition to find a God who justifies or accepts sinners, then you must know that there is no other God than this Man Jesus Christ. Take hold of Him; cling to Him with all your heart, and spurn all speculation about the Divine Majesty; for whoever investigates the majesty of God will be consumed by His glory. I know from experience what I am talking about.  But these fanatics, who deal with God apart from this Man, will not believe me. Christ Himself says: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Outside Christ, the Way, therefore, you will find no other way to the Father; you will find only wandering, not truth, but hypocrisy and lies, not life, but eternal death. Take note, therefore, in the doctrine of justification or grace that when we all must struggle with the Law, sin, death, and the devil, we must look at no other God than this incarnate and human God.”  (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p29).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, look with mercy on us sinners, so prone to seek our own ways and to heed the ways of the world.  Lead us not into temptation that we forsake you.  Deliver us from evil, that we cling only to You, and find in You alone our refuge and help.  Be our God and we Your holy people.  Amen.

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