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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Liz Eaton Forging Ahead with Her Goals.
Do Her Thrivent Partners, ELS-WELS-LCMS, Care?

"The leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has chosen a gay man, John Weit, to be the next Assistant to the Presiding Bishop, Executive for Worship.  He replaces Rev. Kevin Strickland, also a gay man, in this position. 

​In a church bio of John Weit we are told, "John lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood with his spouse, Matt James, and their cat, Buddy." (See here)
John Weit is a member of Proclaim. Proclaim is a "professional community for Lutheran ministers and candidates, who publicly identify as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, plus)" (Quote from here)."
From Exposing the ELCA

 This is Anders Nelson, now an ELCA pastor, dancing in the Luther (ELCA) Seminary chapel. Why is enrollment lagging?

It’s only since 2009 (10 years ago) that the doors have been open to ordain publicly-out and partnered LGBTQIA+ leaders in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I’m raising funds for this organization that continues to lift up LGBTQIA+ ministry leaders. I also want to share a personal saint in my life who inspires me as a LGBTQIA+ church leader to go out and do God’s work in the world, despite all the hurdles that keep LGBTQIA+ ministers out of church leadership. To me, Pastor Bradley Schmeling and his work within the ELCA have been an inspiration, and to be able to say that I've worked alongside him during my seminary journey is an honor. Pastor Bradley's stalwart bravery and voice for justice is a major piece of what brought this issue to the attention of the larger ELCA, and his continued work in the church and for the sake of the world will no doubt inspire many LGBTQIA+ leaders in the church in years to come.

Our goal at ELM is to raise each other up.
BUILD the momentum. MAKE friends.
GROW our support! To raise funds for the continued work and support of LGBTQIA+ Ministry Leadership Programs!

Help me honor the ministry of my saint and all the other Queer saints & allies who have made my ministry possible by donating today. ELM is an independently funded nonprofit, so I’m celebrating #30saints through this Fundraiser, and every dollar counts, at $5, $30, $50, or $350! You can learn more at and follow ELM on social media!

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries believes the public witness of LGBTQIA+ ministers transforms the church and enriches the world. Please support me and other LGBTQIA+ ministers today! Thank you!
No, wrong! This is Martin Luther College, the WELS School of Ministry, for men, women, and undecided. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

For the Birds - In the Creation Garden

 Grackles are great at poking their beaks down for grubs in the soil. 

Sassy and I have an agreement. She loves fresh Moist and Meaty food, which is individually packed, and I like cheap birdfood. She wants it fresh each day and not mixed with the older stuff. Just as kids judge ice cream by the color, dogs judge their food by the stink.

So I took a page from Lynda R.'s bird rescue book and put old dogfood out each day, to start fresh for Sassy. She is not subtle. She sits down with one paw on each side of the dish. If she is not in that position, I ask what she wants. She offers me a long, slow, dramatic licking of her chops.

The stale dogfood is now a regular part of the decoration on the two garbage barrels. One is for recycling, the other for typical garbage. The lids are convenient for birds and squirrels, and two separate mealsites.

My most dramatic sight was a bunch of crows (maybe ravens) on the barrels, only a few feet from the kitchen window. They were majestic in size, solid black. I have never seen that branch of the smart, wiley corvid clan so close to me. (They were eating leftover panera bread.) Grackles, yes. Starlings, always. In Midland the crows would leave the ground in the backyard the moment I turned on water in the kitchen.

Needless to say, I was impressed. Likely the cold morning frost made fresh bread seem especially appealing to the crows.

Normally I am seeing squirrels, robins, starlings, cardinals, and snowbirds on the barrels. Starlings own the neighborhood trees, so they are most frequent and fun. One will be eating and his friend will walk over and shoulder him away. So he flies up and lands on the other barrel and stalks some food. They are a riot bathing.

 Starlings really live it up when bathing. I keep two children's pools for all the critters, who add their dust and manure to pour into the back garden.

LCA Wise Saying - "My Ministry There Was To Close That Congregation."

 Now LCMS-WELS-ELS-CLC (sic) have joined the chorus.

I was at an LCA meeting where one pastor said, "My ministry there... (pause for effect) was to close that parish." The other pastors nodded in solemn agreement.

Pessimism fuels that kind of thinking - lack of hope based on lack of faith.

The LCA was very thirsty for studies and the wisdom of Fuller Seminary, imbued with gems from Management by Objectives. Nothing kills initiative like a pile of facts and figures from pickleface pessimists with no hope.

Now the synods merging with ELCA (stealth mode) are depressing each other, which is probably good in the long run. As Father Steve Spencer said, more than once, "The only way to fix WELS is to burn it to the ground, destroy it completely."

When chickens are on a burning ship, they look around to see how to keep their tail-feathers from getting singed, if they stand in the right place. They can become a Tetzel and end up with a client list for financial management - all the while serving a "divine call!"

They teach against faith, so they have no faith. The alternative is to trust in the efficacy of the Gospel, a doctrine which no synodical official, professor, or school teaches.

 Let's try that spoiling the Egyptians line again!

From OJ to the Gospel, But Back-Slidden to OJ

Once upon a time, X was smitten with Objective Justification and Church Growth. He was nasty about this little Icha-blog that no one reads, that no one regards as credible. He even wrote on the not-so-secret Church and Change listserve, signing with his initials. But he denied that was his writing, his signature.

The efficacious Word convicted him, because Jesus actually taught, the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin, "because they believe not on Me." He and his wife rejoiced in Justification by Faith and defended in public what he earlier had mocked. He wrote friendly emails, but that was not to last.

Like the dentist on the website that few read, except for laughs, he became a back-slider, since his former OJ friends beat him like a rented mule and his brain-washed relatives reached - in love - for the shun button and the Left Boot of Fellowship. Now he is back to his old style, bereft of manners, confusing mockery with Biblical truth.

Now that he is back to his old snakepit, we should ponder - "Is this the basis for a lively and growing community of worship? Or, will they continue to be another pickle factory, where everything is pickled in the vinegar of Walther veneration?

 Why did Walther's kidnapped niece and nephew die in America? From what? He led Stephan's group - after kidnapping his own bishop - and engaged in multiple felonies.

Leander Keyser - On the Basic Error of Modern Missouri

 Leander S. Keyser put his finger on the trouble with the LCMS claw machine.
 "Raised for our justification." Missouri says, "See! Everyone was declared righteous on Easter, Romans 4:25. Never mind Romans 4:24!"

"After writing the foregoing, we read over again Dr. J. L. Neve’s graphic report of the Missouri-Ohio-Iowa free conferences at Milwaukee and Detroit in 1903-4. It would appear that they spent a large part of their time in wrestling over methods of Biblical interpretation. Missouri was against the doctrine of the 'Analogy of Faith;' the others for it. We have no time to amplify on this matter now. For our part, we do not hold up any objective rule by which to interpret Scripture, nor do we feel obliged to “harmonize” the various parts of the Bible; we believe they do not need to be harmonized; they need simply to be understood, and then they will be seen to be harmonious. If God is a unity, His revelation will be like Himself. Therefore our simple hermeneutical rule is to take each passage according to its natural and literal meaning in connection with the context, always reading enough to be sure of the author’s main proposition. By applying this simple rule – it is the rule of all true literary exposition – we do not find one passage of Scripture teaching one thing, and another something else. Of course, no brief Scripture verse teaches all the doctrines of redemption. John 3:16, though called the “gospel in nuce“ says nothing about vicarious atonement or the resurrection. You must go to other parts of the Bible to find those doctrines. But all portions of the Scripture are complementary. One of the strongest evidences of the divine authority and inspiration of the Bible is its organic unity."
From: Leander Keyser. Election and Conversion Available in paperback from Amazon and free ebook from

 Keyser also published books on birds.

Sassy's Charm Tour - Greeting Neighbors and Strangers

Sassy had a special day in greeting friends and adding more to her list. She found two new ladies and requested some petting by sitting in front of them, blocking forward movement, and smiling in anticipation.

I always stay back and say, "Sassy wants to be friends." She got the petting and compliments she wanted.

We stopped outside one veteran's home and discussed medical costs. Sassy spotted Pat next door and headed over. We were invited in to see John, who was having troubles with his blood sugar. Pat ordered Sassy over to her. "Give me some love, Sassy." So Sassy walked over and kissed Pat's hand. After some affection, John said, "Where's my girlfriend?" and gave Sassy a thorough pat-down.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Spring Fever Is Hatching the Bulbs of Last Fall's Fling

The first lonely daffodil has bloomed in the rose garden. That reminds me of the time I arrived at the Greek semester final a day early. The college professor, Harry S. B. Johnson, laughed and said, "That is great! Now you have an extra day to study."

Daffodils are inevitable in the Creation Garden. They do not taste good to the wildlife, gradually increase below ground, and bring a cheerful reminder that spring is close.

Roses were leafing out a few weeks ago, and other plants were greening up with optimism, only to remain at parade rest until we had genuinely warm, sunny days.

Of course, with some variation, winter (or hardy) bulbs are already flowers. When planted in the fall, they develop roots and grow almost to the soil's surface. They know winter is coming, whether it is by hearing the geese squawking overhead or the squirrels digging in food beside them. A bitterly cold winter helps hardy bulbs, so they reward the fall gardener ordering in snow country, who hopes to dig in bulbs before the soil is frozen. I remember having that problem in New Ulm, but the bulbs were glorious.

The day the agents came to visit our house for sale, all my bulbs bloomed at once, including some rare varieties. The agents were stunned, and the house sold at once. We moved to Arizona, where gardening dreams die under the merciless sun in a cloudless sky. Nothing except citrus and cactus grew well, so we had plenty of both.

Last year we had so many drenching rainstorms, dropping inches at a time, that few plants grew well. However, we set up five humming bird feeders and quickly became a destination.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday, 2020, 7 PM Central Standard Time. First Greek Lesson Follows

Ash Wednesday, 2020, 7 PM Central

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn #552                Abide with Me 
The Order of Vespers                                                p. 41
The Psalmody               Psalm 1                        p. 123
The Lection                              Joel 2:12-19
Matthew 6:16-2

The Sermon –   Paul - Faith
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                       p. 45

The Hymn # 429      Lord, Thee I Love

Prayers and Announcements              
  • Treatment and recovery - John Hicks, Rush Limbaugh, Kermit Way, Christina Jackson.
  • Leg operation, Randy Anderson, father of Andrea.
  • Pray for our country as the major trials begin.
  • Thanksgiving - Glen Kotten is doing well, Pastor Shrader is clear on scans. Christina has the last of her radiation treatments tomorrow.
  • Understanding Pilgrim's Progress is being finished.
  • The Gospel of John in Greek, starting slowly for newcomers.

KJV Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? 18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:

KJV Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Sermon Research - Paul on Faith

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

17 αρα η πιστις εξ ακοης η δε ακοη δια ρηματος θεου

Some call Romans 10 the Means of Grace chapter, like Isaiah 55. 

The ακοη is translated as hearing, and acoustics come from the Greek word. But does it simply mean hearing?

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

16 αλλ ου παντες υπηκουσαν τω ευαγγελιω ησαιας γαρ λεγει κυριε τις επιστευσεν τη ακοη ημων

If we expand the meaning of ακοη, we could say 
"hearing the Report," or
"hearing the Gospel sermon," or
"hearing the Atonement taught."

The Report verse opens Isaiah 53 -

Isaiah 53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
ΚΥΡΙΕ, τίς ἐπίστευσε τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν...LXX - Greek Old Testament
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Reading Isaiah 53 and the verses just before that chapter, we can see that this is the Gospel of the Old Testament, a precise description of the death of Jesus and the reason for that death.

Since Paul is quoting Isaiah 53, the word for hearing is really meant to include that chapter as the Report. In fact, the New Testament reproduces most of Isaiah 53 if all the quotations are collected. Isaiah 53 is central to NT doctrine and serves as the bedrock foundation of evangelism - it was all revealed centuries before. 

This is why serious students need basic NT Greek, because ακοη is translated variously as:
  • News, Matthew 4:24
  • Hearing, Matthew 13:14
  • Fame, Matthew 14:1
  • Rumor, Matthew 24:6
  • Hearing, Luke 7:1
  • Report, Romans 10:16
  • Hearing, Romans 10:17

Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Sent is a key verb in the Gospel of John, describing Jesus as sent from the Father. Jesus sending the disciples is directly related to the Father sending the Son.

The Gospel of Peace is not unilateral disarmament, but the righteousness of faith, forgiveness, which gives peace to those who believe the Report.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Salvation comes from calling on the Lord, the result of believing the Report. The word for hearing is the verb form that forms the climax of the argument - ακοη.

Believing is not the work of man, but the gift of God. Those who constantly, foolishly talk about faith as a work of man are ignorant of Jesus' teaching in John -

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.

Note that Jesus defined the Holy Spirit revealing sin as not believing on Him. John 16:8ff.

John 16:8 And when He [GJ - the Holy Spirit, preaching through the Word] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:Of sin, because they believe not on He;

There is no shame in believing the Gospel of Christ

Romans 10: 11 For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.

As taught in the Reformation, the righteousness of works - which Paul described so eloquently - must be replaced by the righteousness of faith.

Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the Word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Paul preached the Word of faith, a fact never disclosed by the rabid Objective Justification faction. Everything afterwards in Romans 10 is perfectly in harmony with these two verses.
Nothing in Paul's inspired writing leads the reader to imagine that the world was justified, declared righteous, absolved of all sin - when Jesus rose from the dead. 

Citing Romans 4:25 for their Objective Justification (Stephan/Walther/Rambach) is proof that the 1932 LCMS convention was a parliament of idiots. The continued abuse of Romans 4:25 proves that nothing is too dumb for false teachers to promote.

 You need Paine to study NT Greek. This is a great introduction to learning through the Gospel of John. Basic grammar charts are handy.

Greek Lesson Following the Service

εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος
ουτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον
παντα δι αυτου εγενετο και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν ο γεγονεν
εν αυτω ζωη ην και η ζωη ην το φως των ανθρωπων
και το φως εν τη σκοτια φαινει και η σκοτια αυτο ου κατελαβεν

Treasure in the Book of Concord

Treasure in the Book of Concord

91] For the Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yea, the only one which we Christians know and have. For though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would help us nothing; for all that is a dead thing which can sanctify nobody. But God's Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour, then, God's Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified thereby, not because of the external work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. 92] Therefore I constantly say that all our life and work must be ordered according to God's Word, if it is to be God-pleasing or holy. Where this is done, this commandment is in force and being fulfilled. Third Commandment. LC.

24] Thus we have most briefly presented the meaning of this article, as much as is at first necessary for the most simple to learn, both as to what we have and receive from God, and what we owe in return, which is a most excellent knowledge, but a far greater treasure. For here we see how the Father has given Himself to us, together with all creatures, and has most richly provided for us in this life, besides that He has overwhelmed us with unspeakable, eternal treasures by His Son and the Holy Ghost, as we shall hear. Article 1, LC, Creed.

38] For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. 39] Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain of ourselves. Article3 , LC, Creed.

43] For where He does not cause it to be preached and made alive in the heart, so that it is understood, it is lost, as was the case under the Papacy, where faith was entirely put under the bench, and no one recognized Christ as his Lord or the Holy Ghost as his Sanctifier, that is, no one believed that Christ is our Lord in the sense that He has acquired this treasure for us, without our works and merit, and made us acceptable to the Father. What, then, was lacking? 44] This, that the Holy Ghost was not there to reveal it and cause it to be preached; but men and evil spirits were there, who taught us to obtain grace and be saved by our works. 45] Therefore it is not a Christian Church either; for where Christ is not preached, there is no Holy Ghost who creates, calls, and gathers the Christian Church, without which no one can come to Christ the Lord. 46] Let this suffice concerning the sum of this article. But because the parts which are here enumerated are not quite clear to the simple, we shall run over them also. Article 3, LC, Creed

38] Here now the great need exists for which we ought to be most concerned, that this name have its proper honor, be esteemed holy and sublime as the greatest treasure and sanctuary that we have; and that as godly children we pray that the name of God, which is already holy in heaven, may also be and remain holy with us upon earth and in all the world. Lord’s Prayer First Petition LC

55] From this you perceive that we pray here not for a crust of bread or a temporal, perishable good, but for an eternal inestimable treasure and everything that God Himself possesses; which is far too great for any human heart to think of desiring if He had not Himself commanded us to pray for the same. 56] But because He is God, He also claims the honor of giving much more and more abundantly than any one can comprehend,-like an eternal, unfailing fountain, which, the more it pours forth and overflows, the more it continues to give,-and He desires nothing more earnestly of us than that we ask much and great things of Him, and again is angry if we do not ask and pray confidently.

57] For just as when the richest and most mighty emperor would bid a poor beggar ask whatever he might desire, and were ready to give great imperial presents, and the fool would beg only for a dish of gruel, he would be rightly considered a rogue and a scoundrel, who treated the command of his imperial majesty as a jest and sport, and was not worthy of coming into his presence: so also it is a great reproach and dishonor to God if we, to whom He offers and pledges so many unspeakable treasures, despise the same, or have not the confidence to receive them, but scarcely venture to pray for a piece of bread.

58] All this is the fault of the shameful unbelief which does not look to God for as much good as will satisfy the stomach, much less expects without doubt such eternal treasures of God. Therefore we must strengthen ourselves against it, and let this be our first prayer; then, indeed, we shall have all else in abundance, as Christ teaches [ Matt. 6:33 ]: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. For how could He allow us to suffer want and to be straitened in temporal things when He promises that which is eternal and imperishable? Lord’s Prayer, Second Petition, LC

15] Therefore it is pure wickedness and blasphemy of the devil that now our new spirits, to mock at Baptism, omit from it God's Word and institution, and look upon it in no other way than as water which is taken from the well, and then blather and say: How is a handful of water to help the soul? 16] Aye, my friend, who does not know that water is water if tearing things asunder is what we are after? But how dare you thus interfere with God's order, and tear away the most precious treasure with which God has connected and enclosed it, and which He will not have separated? For the kernel in the water is God's Word or command and the name of God, which is a treasure greater and nobler than heaven and earth. Holy Baptism, LC

32] In the third place, since we have learned the great benefit and power of Baptism, let us see further who is the person that receives what Baptism gives and profits. 33] This is again most beautifully and clearly expressed in the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. 34] Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. Therefore this single word (He that believeth) effects this much that it excludes and repels all works which we can do, in the opinion that we obtain and merit salvation by them. For it is determined that whatever is not faith avails nothing nor receives anything.

35] But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what, then, becomes of faith? Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God's (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper's baptism). God's works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. 36] For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God's command and ordinance, and besides in God's name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; but the heart must believe it.

37] Thus you see plainly that there is here no work done by us, but a treasure which He gives us, and which faith apprehends; just as the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross is not a work, but a treasure comprehended in the Word, and offered to us and received by faith. Therefore they do us violence by exclaiming against us as though we preach against faith; while we alone insist upon it as being of such necessity that without it nothing can be received nor enjoyed.
38] Thus we have these three parts which it is necessary to know concerning this Sacrament, especially that the ordinance of God is to be held in all honor, which alone would be sufficient, though it be an entirely external thing, like the commandment, Honor thy father and thy mother, which refers to bodily flesh and blood. Therein we regard not the flesh and blood, but the commandment of God in which they are comprehended, and on account of which the flesh is called father and mother; so also, though we had no more than these words, Go ye and baptize, etc., it would be necessary for us to accept and do it as the ordinance of God. 39] Now there is here not only God's commandment and injunction, but also the promise, on account of which it is still far more glorious than whatever else God has commanded and ordained, and is, in short, so full of consolation and grace that heaven and earth cannot comprehend it. 40] But it requires skill to believe this, for the treasure is not wanting, but this is wanting that men apprehend it and hold it firmly.

41] Therefore every Christian has enough in Baptism to learn and to practise all his life; for he has always enough to do to believe firmly what it promises and brings: victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, the grace of God, the entire Christ, and the Holy Ghost with His gifts. 42] In short, it is so transcendent that if timid nature could realize it, it might well doubt whether it could be true. 43] For consider, if there were somewhere a physician who understood the art of saving men from dying, or, even though they died, of restoring them speedily to life, so that they would thereafter live forever, how the world would pour in money like snow and rain, so that because of the throng of the rich no one could find access! But here in Baptism there is brought free to every one's door such a treasure and medicine as utterly destroys death and preserves all men alive.
 Holy Baptism, LC, Holy Baptism

84] For this reason let every one esteem his Baptism as a daily dress in which he is to walk constantly, that he may ever be found in the faith and its fruits, that he suppress the old man and grow up in the new. 85] For if we would be Christians, we must practice the work whereby we are Christians. 86] But if any one fall away from it, let him again come into it. For just as Christ, the Mercy-seat, does not recede from us or forbid us to come to Him again, even though we sin, so all His treasure and gifts also remain. If, therefore, we have once in Baptism obtained forgiveness of sin, it will remain every day, as long as we live, that is, as long as we carry the old man about our neck. Holy Baptism, LC

20] Thus we have briefly the first point which relates to the essence of this Sacrament. Now examine further the efficacy and benefits on account of which really the Sacrament was instituted; which is also its most necessary part, that we may know what we should seek and obtain there. 21] Now this is plain and clear from the words just mentioned: This is My body and blood, given and shed for you, for the remission of sins. 22] Briefly that is as much as to say: For this reason we go to the Sacrament because there we receive such a treasure by and in which we obtain forgiveness of sins. Why so? Because the words stand here and give us this; for on this account He bids me eat and drink, that it may be my own and may benefit me, as a sure pledge and token, yea, the very same treasure that is appointed for me against my sins, death, and every calamity. LC, Holy C

28] But here our wise spirits contort themselves with their great art and wisdom, crying out and bawling: How can bread and wine forgive sins or strengthen faith? Although they hear and know that we do not say this of bread and wine, because in itself bread is bread, but of such bread and wine as is the body and blood of Christ, and has the words attached to it. That, we say, is verily the treasure, and nothing else, through which such forgiveness is obtained. 29] Now the only way in which it is conveyed and appropriated to us is in the words (Given and shed for you). For herein you have both truths, that it is the body and blood of Christ, and that it is yours as a treasure and gift. 30] Now the body of Christ can never be an unfruitful, vain thing, that effects or profits nothing. Yet, however great is the treasure in itself, it must be comprehended in the Word and administered to us, else we should never be able to know or seek it.

31] Therefore also it is vain talk when they say that the body and blood of Christ are not given and shed for us in the Lord's Supper, hence we could not have forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament. For although the work is accomplished and the forgiveness of sins acquired on the cross, yet it cannot come to us in any other way than through the Word. For what would we otherwise know about it, that such a thing was accomplished or was to be given us if it were not presented by preaching or the oral Word? Whence do they know of it, or how can they apprehend and appropriate to themselves the forgiveness, except they lay hold of and believe the Scriptures and the Gospel? 32] But now the entire Gospel and the article of the Creed: I believe a holy Christian Church, the forgiveness of sin, etc., are by the Word embodied in this Sacrament and presented to us. Why, then, should we allow this treasure to be torn from the Sacrament when they must confess that these are the very words which we hear every where in the Gospel, and they cannot say that these words in the Sacrament are of no use, as little as they dare say that the entire Gospel or Word of God, apart from the Sacrament, is of no use?

33] Thus we have the entire Sacrament, both as to what it is in itself and as to what it brings and profits. Now we must also see who is the person that receives this power and benefit. That is answered briefly, as we said above of Baptism and often elsewhere: Whoever believes it has what the words declare and bring. For they are not spoken or proclaimed to stone and wood, but to those who hear them, to whom He says: 34]Take and eat, etc. And because He offers and promises forgiveness of sin, it cannot be received otherwise than by faith. This faith He Himself demands in the Word when He says: Given and shed for you. As if He said: For this reason I give it, and bid you eat and drink, that you may claim it as yours and enjoy it. 35] Whoever now accepts these words, and believes that what they declare is true, has it. But whoever does not believe it has nothing, as he allows it to be offered to him in vain, and refuses to enjoy such a saving good. The treasure, indeed, is opened and placed at every one's door, yea, upon his table, but it is necessary that you also claim it, and confidently view it as the words suggest to you 36] This, now, is the entire Christian preparation for receiving this Sacrament worthily. For since this treasure is entirely presented in the words, it cannot be apprehended and appropriated in any other way than with the heart. For such a gift and eternal treasure cannot be seized with the fist. 37] Fasting and prayer, etc., may indeed be an external preparation and discipline for children, that the body may keep and bear itself modestly and reverently towards the body and blood of Christ; yet what is given in and with it the body cannot seize and appropriate. But this is done by the faith of the heart, which discerns this treasure and desires it. 38] This may suffice for what is necessary as a general instruction respecting this Sacrament; for what is further to be said of it belongs to another time.

39] In conclusion, since we have now the true understanding and doctrine of the Sacrament, there is indeed need of some admonition and exhortation, that men may not let so great a treasure which is daily administered and distributed among Christians pass by unheeded, that is, that those who would be Christians make ready to receive this venerable Sacrament often. 40] For we see that men seem weary and lazy with respect to it; and there is a great multitude of such as hear the Gospel, and, because the nonsense of the Pope has been abolished, and we are freed from his laws and coercion, go one, two, three years, or even longer without the Sacrament, as though they were such strong Christians that they have no need of it; 41] and some allow themselves to be prevented and deterred by the pretense that we have taught that no one should approach it except those who feel hunger and thirst, which urge them to it. Some pretend that it is a matter of liberty and not necessary, and that it is sufficient to believe without it; and thus for the most part they go so far that they become quite brutish, and finally despise both the Sacrament and the Word of God. LC, Holy C
66] For here He offers to us the entire treasure which He has brought for us from heaven, and to which He invites us also in other places with the greatest kindness, as when He says in St. Matthew 11:28: Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 67] Now it is surely a sin and a shame that He so cordially and faithfully summons and exhorts us to our highest and greatest good, and we act so distantly with regard to it, and permit so long a time to pass [without partaking of the Sacrament] that we grow quite cold and hardened, so that we have no inclination or love for it. 68] We must never regard the Sacrament as something injurious from which we had better flee, but as a pure, wholesome, comforting remedy imparting salvation and comfort, which will cure you and give you life both in soul and body. For where the soul has recovered, the body also is relieved. Why, then, is it that we act as if it were a poison, the eating of which would bring death? LC, Holy C

Solid Dec
9] Concerning the righteousness of faith before God we believe, teach, and confess unanimously, in accordance with the comprehensive summary of our faith and confession presented above, that poor sinful man is justified before God, that is, absolved and declared free and exempt from all his sins, and from the sentence of well-deserved condemnation, and adopted into sonship and heirship of eternal life, without any merit or worth of our own, also without any preceding, present, or any subsequent works, out of pure grace, because of the sole merit, complete obedience, bitter suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Christ alone, whose obedience is reckoned to us for righteousness.

10] These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. 11] This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the father, and are eternally saved. 12] Therefore it is considered and understood to be the same thing when Paul says that we are justified by faith, Rom. 3:28, or that faith is counted to us for righteousness, Rom. 4:5, and when he says that we are made righteous by the obedience of One, Rom. 5:19, or that by the righteousness of One justification of faith came to all men, Rom. 5:18. 13] For faith justifies, not for this cause and reason that it is so good a work and so fair a virtue, but because it lays hold of and accepts the merit of Christ in the promise of the holy Gospel; for this must be applied and appropriated to us by faith, if we are to be justified thereby. 14] Therefore the righteousness which is imputed to faith or to the believer out of pure grace is the obedience, suffering, and resurrection of Christ, since He has made satisfaction for us to the Law, and paid for [expiated] our sins. 15] For since Christ is not man alone, but God and man in one undivided person, He was as little subject to the Law, because He is the Lord of the Law, as He had to suffer and die as far as His person is concerned. For this reason, then, His obedience, not only in suffering and dying, but also in this, that He in our stead was voluntarily made under the Law, and fulfilled it by this obedience, is imputed to us for righteousness, so that, on account of this complete obedience, which He rendered His heavenly Father for us, by doing and suffering, in living and dying, God forgives our sins, regards us as godly and righteous, and eternally saves us. 16] This righteousness is offered us by the Holy Ghost through the Gospel and in the Sacraments, and is applied, appropriated, and received through faith, whence believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, the grace of God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life. Formula, SD 3 Righteousness of Faith