Keep all the commandments to enter life

As I opened my New Testament, I expected to read a passage and then return to life as usual. Instead I found this:
Once a man came to Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?” “Why do you ask me concerning what is good?” answered Jesus. “There is only One who is good. Keep the commandments if you want to enter life.” “What commandments?” he asked. Jesus answered, “Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “I have obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied.
Matthew 19:16-20a, Good News Translation
But I obviously had not obeyed all those commandments! Condemned by Jesus, I fell to my knees, begging to be allowed somehow to enter eternal life as a slave.
Years later I learned that because “the only One who is good” was sentenced to death for my crime, I not only received eternal life but received it as God’s forgiven child. Grace alone.
I did not receive it by doing a good thing but simply by believing that good news. Faith alone.
No church council or Pope could take the joy of this full pardon from me, for I had not learned it from mortals but from the very words of God. Scripture alone.
Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
This post by David Bickel commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (31 October 2017).

Reformation devotions, October 1517+500 (homologoumena, part 6 of 8)

Morning prayer

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

As time allows, read a passage from the schedule found below or a reading from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

Evening prayer

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Next, consider reading a passage from the schedule or a passage from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

Schedule of readings in October

Month Day Book Morning Evening

October

1

2 Corinthians 1:1-11 1:12-23

October

2

2:1-11 2:12-17

October

3

3:1-11 3:12-18

October

4

4:1-6 4:7-17

October

5

5:1-10 5:11-21

October

6

6:1-10 6:11-18

October

7

7:1-4 7:5-16

October

8

8:1-15 8:16-24

October

9

9:1-5 9:6-15

October

10

10:1-7 10:8-18

October

11

11:1-15 11:16-33

October

12

12:1-6 12:7-21

October

13

13:1-10 13:11-14

October

14

Galatians 1:1-10 1:11-24

October

15

2:1-10 2:11-21

October

16

3:1-14 3:15-29

October

17

4:1-20 4:21-31

October

18

5:1-12 5:13-26

October

19

6:1-10 6:11-18

October

20

Ephesians 1:1-14 1:15-23

October

21

2:1-10 2:11-22

October

22

3:1-13 3:14-21

October

23

4:1-16 4:17-32

October

24

5:1-21 5:22-33

October

25

6:1-9 6:10-24

October

26

Philippians 1:1-11 1:12-30

October

27

2:1-18 2:19-30

October

28

3:1-16 3:17-21

October

29

4:1-9 4:10-23

October

30

Psalm 4 91

October

31

7 104

About these devotions

1517-2017 grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone

Reformation devotions, September 1517+500 (homologoumena, part 5 of 8)

Morning prayer

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

As time allows, read a passage from the schedule found below or a reading from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

Evening prayer

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Next, consider reading a passage from the schedule or a passage from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

Schedule of readings in September

Month Day Book Morning Evening

September

1

Mark 1:1-12 1:13-28

September

2

Mark 1:29-45 2:1-13

September

3

Mark 2:14-27 3:1-12

September

4

Mark 3:13-35 4:1-25

September

5

Mark 4:26-41 5:1-20

September

6

Mark 5:21-43 6:1-13

September

7

Mark 6:14-32 6:33-56

September

8

Mark 7:1-13 7:14-37

September

9

Mark 8:1-26 8:27-38

September

10

Mark 9:1-13 9:14-29

September

11

Mark 9:30-50 10:1-16

September

12

Mark 10:17-52 11:1-14

September

13

Mark 11:15-33 12:1-12

September

14

Mark 12:13-27 12:28-44

September

15

Mark 13:1-23 13:24-37

September

16

Mark 14:1-11 14:12-42

September

17

Mark 14:43-72 15:1-15

September

18

Mark 15:16-21 15:22-47

September

19

Mark 16:1-8 16:9-20

September

20

Psalm 104 134

September

21

Psalm 121 139

September

22

Psalm 90 121

September

23

1 Peter 1:1-12 1:13-25

September

24

1 Peter 2:1-12 2:13-25

September

25

1 Peter 3:1-7 3:8-22

September

26

1 Peter 4:1-11 4:12-19

September

27

1 Peter 5:1-5 5:6-14

September

28

Psalm 63 3

September

29

Psalm 103 4

September

30

Psalm 130 8

About these devotions

1517-2017 grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone

Reformation devotions, August 1517+500 (homologoumena, part 4 of 8)

Morning prayer

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

As time allows, read a passage from the schedule found below or a reading from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

Evening prayer

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Next, consider reading a passage from the schedule or a passage from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

Schedule of readings in August

Month Day Book Morning Evening

August

1

Romans 1:1-17 1:18-32

August

2

Romans 2:1-16 2:17-29

August

3

Romans 3:1-18 3:19-31

August

4

Romans 4:1-12 4:13-25

August

5

Romans 5:1-11 5:12-21

August

6

Romans 6:1-11 6:12-23

August

7

Romans 7:1-12 7:13-25

August

8

Romans 8:1-16 8:17-39

August

9

Romans 9:1-13 9:14-33

August

10

Romans 10:1-13 10:14-21

August

11

Romans 11:1-16 11:17-36

August

12

Romans 12:1-8 12:9-21

August

13

Romans 13:1-14 14:1-12

August

14

Romans 14:13-23 15:1-25

August

15

Romans 15:26-33 16:1-24

August

16

1 Corinthians 1:1-17 1:18-31

August

17

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 2:6-16

August

18

1 Corinthians 3:1-9 3:10-23

August

19

1 Corinthians 4:1-7 4:8-21

August

20

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 6:1-8

August

21

1 Corinthians 6:9-20 7:1-20

August

22

1 Corinthians 7:21-40 8:1-13

August

23

1 Corinthians 9:1-14 9:15-27

August

24

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 10:14-32

August

25

1 Corinthians 11:1-16 11:17-34

August

26

1 Corinthians 12:1-13 12:14-31

August

27

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 14:1-19

August

28

1 Corinthians 14:20-40 15:1-11

August

29

1 Corinthians 15:12-28 15:29-49

August

30

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 16:1-24

August

31

Psalm 19 127

About these devotions

1517-2017 grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone

Reformation devotions, July 1517+500 (homologoumena, part 3 of 8)

Morning prayer

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

As time allows, read a passage from the schedule found below or a reading from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

Evening prayer

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Next, consider reading a passage from the schedule or a passage from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

Schedule of readings in July

Month Day Book Morning Evening

July

1

Matthew 1:1-16 1:17-25

July

2

Matthew 2:1-12 2:13-23

July

3

Matthew 3:1-12 3:13-17

July

4

Matthew 4:1-16 4:17-25

July

5

Matthew 5:1-20 5:21-48

July

6

Matthew 6:1-18 6:19-34

July

7

Matthew 7:1-14 7:15-29

July

8

Matthew 8:1-17 8:18-34

July

9

Matthew 9:1–17 9:18-38

July

10

Matthew 10:1-15 10:16-42

July

11

Matthew 11:1-19 11:20-30

July

12

Matthew 12:1-21 12:22-50

July

13

Matthew 13:1-23 13:24-58

July

14

Matthew 14:1-12 14:13-36

July

15

Matthew 15:1-20 15:21-39

July

16

Matthew 16:1-12 16:13-28

July

17

Matthew 17:1-13 17:14-27

July

18

Matthew 18:1-14 18:15-35

July

19

Matthew 19:1-12 19:13-30

July

20

Matthew 20:1-19 20:20-34

July

21

Matthew 21:1-22 21:23-46

July

22

Matthew 22:1-22 22:23-46

July

23

Matthew 23:1-22 23:23-39

July

24

Matthew 24:1-23 24:24-51

July

25

Matthew 25:1-13 25:14-46

July

26

Matthew 26:1-16 26:17-35

July

27

Matthew 26:36-56 26:57-75

July

28

Matthew 27:1-16 27:17-31

July

29

Matthew 27:32-44 27:45-66

July

30

Matthew 28:1-10 28:11-20

July

31

Psalm 7 104

About these devotions

1517-2017 grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone

Reformation devotions, June 1517+500 (homologoumena, part 2 of 8)

Morning prayer

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

As time allows, read a passage from the schedule found below or a reading from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

Evening prayer

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Next, consider reading a passage from the schedule or one from WELS.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

Schedule of readings in June

Month Day Book Morning Evening

June

1

Psalms 4 3

June

2

Psalms 63 4

June

3

Psalms 103 8

June

4

Psalms 130 91

June

5

Colossians 1:1-12 1:13-29

June

6

Colossians 2:1-7 2:8-23

June

7

Colossians 3:1-11 3:12-25

June

8

Colossians 4:1-9 4:10-18

June

9

1 Thessalonians 1:1 1:2-10

June

10

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 2:13-20

June

11

1 Thessalonians 3:1-10 3:11-13

June

12

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 4:13-18

June

13

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 5:12-28

June

14

2 Thessalonians 1:1-5 1:6-12

June

15

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 2:13-17

June

16

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 3:6-18

June

17

1 Timothy 1:1-11 1:12-20

June

18

1 Timothy 2:1-8 2:9-15

June

19

1 Timothy 3:1-13 3:14-4:5

June

20

1 Timothy 4:6-11 4:12-16

June

21

1 Timothy 5:1-16 5:17-25

June

22

1 Timothy 6:1-10 6:11—21

June

23

2 Timothy 1:1-14 1:15-2:13

June

24

2 Timothy 2:14-19 2:20-26

June

25

2 Timothy 3:1-9 3:10-17

June

26

2 Timothy 4:1-8 4:9-22

June

27

Titus 1:1-4 1:5-16

June

28

Titus 2:1-10 2:11-15

June

29

Titus 3:1-11 3:12-15

June

30

Philemon 1:1-9 1:10-25

About these devotions

1517-2017 grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone

Reformation devotions, May 1517+500 (homologoumena, part 1 of 8)

Morning devotions

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

As time allows, read a Psalm or a passage from the schedule found below.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

Evening devotions

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Next, consider reading a Psalm or a passage from the schedule.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

Schedule of readings in May

Month Day Book Morning Evening

May

6

John 1:1-34 1:35-51

May

7

John 2:1-12 2:13-23

May

8

John 3:1-21 3:22-36

May

9

John 4:1-38 4:39-54

May

10

John 5:1-24 5:25-47

May

11

John 6:1-25 6:26-71

May

12

John 7:1-24 7:25-52

May

13

John 8:12-30 8:31-59

May

14

John 9:1-12 9:13-41

May

15

John 10:1-19 10:20-42

May

16

John 11:1-29 11:30-57

May

17

John 12:1-26 12:27-50

May

18

John 13:1-20 13:21-38

May

19

John 14:1-15 14:16-30

May

20

John 15:1-11 15:12-27

May

21

John 16:1-15 16:16-33

May

22

John 17:1-12 17:13-26

May

23

John 18:1-24 18:25-40

May

24

John 19:1-15 19:16-42

May

25

John 20:1-18 20:19-31

May

26

John 21:1-14 21:15-25

May

27

1 John 1:1-4 1:5-10

May

28

1 John 2:1-14 2:15-29

May

29

1 John 3:1-12 3:13-24

May

30

1 John 4:1-6 4:7-21

May

31

1 John 5:1-12 5:13-21

About these devotions

1517-2017 grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone

The Lord’s Supper and the perspicuity of Scripture: Why do Lutherans disagree with the symbolic view?

In spite of claims that the Scripture is so unclear that it needs an outside infallible interpreter, Martin Luther found some of its passages clear enough both to rely on them with complete confidence for eternal life and to shed light on many passages that are otherwise less clear. Although many individual texts lack clarity in themselves, simple trust in the straightforward texts makes the doctrine taught by Scripture, including every article of faith, completely clear. Such texts are so lucid that they need no exegesis in the sense of clarification. No more open to different interpretations than ordinary human language, the clear passages make possible the understanding of many less clear passages, the unity of faith, and the rejection of false teaching. This is what it means for Scripture to interpret Scripture: many unclear passages of Scripture are clarified by passages of Scripture that need no clarification, neither from human interpreters, nor even from other Scripture. For example, the Ethiopian eunuch could not understand an unclear messianic prophecy without Philip’s interpretation, now recorded as perfectly clear Scripture that interprets the less clear prophecy (Acts 8:30-35). Many of those who deny this doctrine of the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture claim that divisions among Protestants result from different interpretations of Scripture passages, …

More: The Lord’s Supper and the perspicuity of Scripture: If the Bible is perfectly clear, why do Protestants still disagree?

The Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s doctrine of church and ministry (1980, 2005)

It is God’s will “that Christians unite in order to preserve the means of grace pure and unadulterated, to use these means of grace for their own edification, to show the unity that exists among them, and to join hands in bringing the good news of salvation in Christ to others. Jeremiah 23:28; John 8:31-32; Acts 2:42; Psalm 133:1; Matthew 28:19-20,” (ELS Catechism question 247, p. 146-47) This normally is done through the external forms of the local congregation, synod and denomination. Although it is God’s will that Christians gather for public worship, these external forms, as such, however, are not divinely instituted. “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” (Luke 17:20) Luther correctly says, “there is not a single letter in holy Scripture saying that such a church (i.e. a ‘physical, external Christendom’), where it is by itself, is instituted by God … If they can show me that a single letter of Scripture speaks of it, I will recant my words.” (LW 39, 70) The local congregation is the primary grouping because this is where Christians live and where they can readily and practically carry out the commands of God on a regular basis.

—Doctrine of the Church, Evangelical Lutheran Synod, adopted 1980

The 1980 ELS statement on church and ministry is its 2005 statement in a nutshell. For to deny the exclusive divine institution of the parish is to deny that of the parish pastorate:

Indeed, the word of God nowhere exclusively mandates the parish. Instead, what we find in Scripture is a command to the church—that is, believers—to proclaim the gospel and to administer the sacraments (John 20, Matt. 28, etc.) and the divine bestowal of various forms of the ministry of the word, including but certainly not limited to the apostleship. Pastors, evangelists, apostles, and others called to proclaim the gospel on behalf of the church are gifts from the ascended Christ himself (Eph. 4:11).
Scripture also presents examples of a wide variety of acceptable forms of the church. What we will not find there or anywhere else in Scripture is today’s notion of a parish, let alone the divine institution of the parish as opposed to other forms of the church or the divine institution of the parish pastorate as opposed to other forms of the ministry of the word. Nor will we find legalistic restrictions on the church’s—that is, believers’—divinely conferred authority to proclaim the gospel on their behalf through called servants of the word according to the need of the situation.
For more details and for corroborating references to the confessions, the 1932 Brief Statement of the LCMS, and Walther, see Prof. Brug’s systematic investigation and clear exposition.

Bibliographic note: “LW 39, 70” cites Martin Luther (1520) “On the papacy in Rome against the most celebrated Romanist in Leipzig,” Luther’s Works, vol. 39, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan and Helmut T. Lehmann, Muhlenberg Press, Philadelphia, pp. 55-104 (1970). | Excerpt