A Reading from the Book of Concord 3 year series September 21, 2008 - 19th Sunday after Pentecost
Standard LSB A Readings: First: Is. 55:6-9 Epistle: Phil 1:12-14,19-30 Gospel: Matt. 20:1-16 Psalm: Ps. 27:1-9
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the LSB Epistle Philippians 1:12-14,19-30 for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, September 21, 2008.
It is from Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article IV, paragraphs 37-40, pages 551-552.
As children of God we cannot say to God, "Old dogs can't learn new tricks." We must ever be striving to improve our habits and to increase our labors for the Lord. As Paul admonishes, "Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ..." (Philippians 1:27)
Regarding the idea that good works are harmful to salvation, we explain ourselves clearly as follows: If anyone wants to drag good works into the article of justification, rest his righteousness or trust for salvation on them, and merit God's grace and be saved by them, St. Paul himself answers, not us. He says and repeats it three times (Philippians 3:7-8)-such a person's works are not only useless and a hindrance, but are also harmful. This is not the fault of the good works themselves, but of the false confidence placed in the works, contrary to God's clear Word.
However, it by no means follows that we are to say simply and flatly: "Good works are harmful to believers' salvation." In believers good works are signs of salvation when they are done from true causes and for true ends. That is, in the sense in which God requires them of the regenerate (Philippians 1:20). It is God's will and command that believers should do good works. The Holy Spirit works this in believers, and He promises a glorious reward for good works in this life and the life to come.
This idea is rejected in our churches. It is false and offensive. Discipline and decency might be impaired by it, and a barbarous, loose, secure, Epicurean life be introduced and strengthened. Christians should be admonished and urged to do good works most diligently. (paragraphs 37-40)
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.