A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series February 2, 2014 - The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Luke 2:22-40 for the The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord, February 2, 2014.
It is from The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV.52-56.
Forty days after the birth of Jesus, "Mary and Joseph brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, . . . to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law." This One for Whom His mother and father offered a pair of turtle doves, Himself became the once-for-all sacrifice offered by His father in heaven for the sins of the world.
THE PURIFICATION OF MARY AND THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD
THE APOLOGY OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION
52] [The leaders of the Roman Church] quote also from the Epistle to the Hebrews, "For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins" (5:1). They conclude that, since there are high priests and priests in the New Testament, that means that there is also a sacrifice for sins. . . . [Thus] the service of the Mass and the rest of the polity of the pope is nothing more than false zeal for the misunderstood Levitical order.
53] The main proofs for our belief are in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Yet, the adversaries twist mutilated passages from this Epistle against us, as in this very passage, where it is said that every high priest is ordained to offer sacrifices for sins. Scripture immediately adds that Christ is the High Priest (Hebrews 5:5-6, 10). The preceding words speak about the Levitical priesthood and show that the Levitical priesthood was an image of Christ's priesthood. The Levitical sacrifices for sins did not merit the forgiveness of sins before God. They were only an image of Christ's sacrifice, which was to be the one atoning sacrifice, as we said before. 54] To a great extent the Epistle speaks about the ancient priesthood and the ancient sacrifices were set up not to merit the forgiveness of sins before God or reconciliation, but only to illustrate the future sacrifice of Christ alone. 55] In the Old Testament, saints had to be justified by faith, which receives the promise of the forgiveness of sins granted for Christ's sake, just as saints are also justified in the New Testament. From the beginning of the world all saints had to believe that Christ would be the promised offering and satisfaction for sins, as Isaiah 53:10 teaches, "when His soul makes an offering for sin."
56] In the Old Testament, sacrifices did not merit reconciliation, except as a picture (for they merited civil reconciliation), but they illustrated the coming sacrifice. This means that Christ is the only sacrifice applied on behalf of the sins of others. Therefore, in the New Testament, no sacrifice is left to be applied for the sins of others, except the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen