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A Reading from the Book of Concord
3 year series

September 8, 2013 - Pentecost 16, Proper 18, series C

The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Epistle, Philemon 1-21 for the Pentecost 16, Proper 18, series C, September 8, 2013.

It is from Solid Declaration, Article IV, pages 548-549.

The thankful child of God should not think, that because it is necessary to do good works, that he is under compulsion. No, it is only describing a natural consequence of having been redeemed by God. We will do good works gladly by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Click here for the reading formatted for the back of a standard CPH bulletin.

Pastor Doug May
Socorro, New Mexico


Regarding the necessity or voluntary nature of good works, it is clear that in the Augsburg Confession and its Apology these expressions are often used and repeated—good works are necessary. They say it is necessary to do good works, which follow faith and reconciliation. Likewise, we are to do, and must do, the kind of good works God has commanded. In the Holy Scriptures themselves the words necessity, needful, and necessary, as well as ought and must, are used to describe what we are bound to do because of God's ordinance, command, and will…

Note the following distinction. The meaning of these expressions must be a necessity based on Christ's command, and will and based on our obligation, but not a necessity based on coercion. When the word necessary is used, it should be understood not as force, but only as the order of God's unchanging will, whose debtors we are. His commandment points out that the creature should be obedient to its Creator. New Testament people are to be a willing people (Psalm 110:3) and sacrifice freely (Psalm 54:6), "not reluctantly or under compulsion" (2 Cor. 9:7). They are to be "obedient from the heart", "for God loves a cheerful giver." In this sense, it is correctly taught that truly good works should be done willingly, or from a voluntary spirit, by those whom God's Son has made free. (paragraphs 14, 16-18)

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.

These are excerpts from the Book of Concord.

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