December 20, 2009
In part one; we dealt with the first 8 articles of the Augsburg Confession. In part two we now deal with the other 13 articles.
Of Baptism—A belief that Baptism is necessary for salvation and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God. Children are Baptized as an offering to them of God's grace.
Of the Lord’s Supper—A belief that Christ is truly present in the bread and wine of the sacrament, and reject those that teach otherwise.
Of Confession—A belief that private absolution should remain in the church, though a believer does not need to enumerate all of his sins as it is impossible for a man to enumerate all of the sins for which he should be forgiven.
Of Repentance--Repentance comes in two parts: in contrition for sins committed according to the Law and through faith offered through the Gospel. A believer can never be free from sin, nor live outside of the grace of God.
Of the use of Sacraments--The Sacraments (Baptism and the Holy Communion) are physical manifestations of God's Word and his commitment to us. The sacraments are never just physical elements, but have God's word and promises bound to them.
Of Ecclesiastical Order—A belief that only those who are "rightly called" to Ministry should administer the Sacraments.
Of Ecclesiastical Usages—A belief that church holidays, calendars and festivals are useful for religious observance, but that observance and ritual is not necessary for salvation. Human traditions (such as observances, fasts, and distinctions in eating meats) that are taught as a way to "merit" grace work in opposition to the Gospel.
Of Civil Affairs--Secular governments and vocations are considered to be part of God's natural orders; Christians are free to serve in government, the military and engage in the business and vocations of the world. Laws are to be followed unless they are commandments to sin.
Of Christ Return to Judgment—A belief that Christ will return to judge the world and all men; the 'godly' will be given everlasting joy, the 'ungodly' will be condemned. This article rejects notions of the earthly Kingdom of the godly, or that Christ's judgment will not be final.
OF Free Will—A belief that we have free will in the realm of "civil righteousness" (or "things subject to reason"), but that we do not have free will in "spiritual righteousness". In other words, we are free to choose and act in every regard except for the choice of salvation. Faith is not the work of men, but of the Holy Spirit.
Of the Cause of Sin--God does not cause people to sin — sin is instead the work of the 'ungodly and the devil'. (i.e. our selfish concerns of this world)
Of Good Works--The notion of justification by faith does not somehow condemn good works; our faith causes us to do good works as a sign of our justification (or salvation), not a requirement for salvation.
Of the Worship of the Saints—A belief that we honour the saints, not as saviours or intercessors to God, but rather as examples and inspirations to our own faith and life.