A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series June 29, 2014 - St. Peter & St. Paul, Apostles
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Matthew 16:13-19 for the St. Peter & St. Paul, Apostles, June 29, 2014.
It is from The Apology of the Augsburg , Articles VII and VIII.
The One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church is built on nothing but the person and work of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, delivered by the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins in the pure proclamation of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments.
5] But the Church is not only the fellowship of outward objects and rites, as other governments, but at its core it is a fellowship of faith and of the Holy Spirit in hearts. Yet this fellowship has outward marks so that it can be recognized. These marks are the pure doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with the Gospel of Christ. This Church alone is called Christ's body of Christ, which Christ renews, sanctifies, and governs by His Spirit. Paul testifies about this when he says, "And gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23). 6] Those in whom Christ does not act [through His Spirit] are not the members of Christ. The adversaries admit this too. The wicked are "dead" members of the Church. We wonder why the adversaries have found fault with our description that speaks of living members. 7] Neither have we said anything new. Paul has defined the Church precisely in the same way, that it should be cleansed in order to be holy. He adds the outward marks, the Word and Sacraments. For he says: Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the Church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
In the Confession we have presented this sentence almost word for word. The Church is defined by the Third Article of the Creed, which teaches us to believe that there is a holy Catholic Church. 8] The wicked indeed are not a holy Church. The words that follow, namely, "the communion of saints," seems to be added in order to explain what the Church signifies: the congregation of saints, who have with each other the fellowship of the same Gospel or doctrine and the same Holy Spirit, who renews, sanctifies, and governs their hearts.
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