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Pastor Paul Schwartzkopf
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Understand our heritage as Lutherans

Luther's words, God's work

In this 500th anniversary year of the Lutheran Reformation, we can refresh our understanding of our Lutheran heritage. Some historians have referred to Martin Luther as the man who changed the world; however, Luther himself pointed to the gospel of Jesus Christ that brought about the changes of the reformation. Article IV of the Augsburg Confession states this heart of the Lutheran understanding of the Christian faith.

“It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us.” Book of Concord p. 30

Grace is God’s favor and loving attitude toward us human beings. Faith trusts the promises of God and is given to us by the Holy Spirit as Luther explained in his explanation of the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed in his Small Catechism.

“I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one
common, true faith. Daily in this Christian church the Holy Spirit abundantly forgives all sins– mine and those of all believers.” Luther’s Small Catechism p. 31

Luther wrote, “I believe...that I cannot believe....” Faith is a mystery because our faith and the salvation are God’s work. Thanks be to God!

Pastor Paul 

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