Augsburg Confession, Articles 4-5

Jesus holding Bread for His Supper (610x351)

Last week, we didn’t finish Article 4 as we discussed some related topics and chose to spend time on those.


AC IV: Justification

1Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works. 2People are justified as a gift because of Christ, through faith, when they believe that they are received into [His] favor and that their sins are forgiven because of Christ, who by His death made reparations for our sins. 3God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight (Romans 3:21-26; 4:5).


Rome’s Response:

It is entirely contrary to Holy Scripture to deny that our works are meritorious…. all Catholics confess that of themselves our works have no merit but that God’s grace makes them worthy of eternal life.


The official Lutheran definition of justification:

Read Romans 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:9 Not by _________

Read Romans 3:21-28, Ephesians 2:8 But by __________

Review Romans 3:21-28 Because of ____________

Review Romans 3:21-28, 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:8 Through __________.


Isaiah 53:4-5: Yet he himself bore our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we thought him punished, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our rebellions and crushed because of our sins. He bore the punishment that made us whole, and by his wounds we are healed.

  • To whom does Isaiah refer?


  • What event is referred to here in these verses?


2 Corinthians 5:21: God made the one who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we in him we might become the righteousness of God.

  • The above verse tells us that Christ was made sin. What was the source of this sin?


1 John 1:7: But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.

  •  What did Christ use to reconcile the world to God?


Galatians 3:6: Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

  • How does the righteousness of Christ get credited to us?


  • Ah, but what does God use to give us, and keep us in, that faith?


Psalm 53:2-3: God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there is one who is wise, one who seeks God. But all have turned away; everyone has become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one.

  • Who needs what Christ has won for us on the cross?


Evaluate this statement: All theology revolves around Christ and justification (AC III and IV). That’s why we don’t treat justification as just another article of faith, but as the article on which the Church stands and falls. To weaken this article is the first step in killing the entire body.


Evaluate this statement: God creates faith the same way He forgives our sins: Faith and forgiveness through the Gospel and Sacraments.


AC V: The Office of the Ministry

So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted [Matthew 28:19-20]. Through the Word and the Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given [John 20:22]. He creates faith, where and when it pleases God [John 3:8] in those who hear the Gospel that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace because of Christ. This happens not through our own efforts, but because of Christ. Galatians3:14: “So that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Spirit comes to us without the external Word through their own preparations and works.


Rome’s Response:

In the fifth article the statement that the Holy Spirit is given through the Word and Sacraments, as by instruments, is approved. . . . The mention, however, that they [the Lutherans] here make of faith is approved so far as not “faith alone,” which some incorrectly teach, but faith that works through love, as the Apostle properly teaches in Galatians 5:3.



This article centers on how God saves His people: the Means of Grace, which are His Word and Sacraments. The main point of this article is to affirm that God does not work in His Church apart from His means. Article 5 confesses how we are given the justifying faith talked about in Article 4.

But Article 5 also connects God’s means of grace to the Office of the Ministry. Christ calls men into this office through His Church to be the steward of the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4:1). The Apostle Paul stated that “we [Paul and Sosthenes] are God’s fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9) and “in Christ Jesus I [Paul] became your father through the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:16). This shows that the Ministry through which his readers came to faith also includes those in the Office of The Ministry.


Titus 3:5: He saved us, not by works of righteousness that we had done, but because of his mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:26: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water with the word.

Galatians 3:26-27: So you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Acts 2:38: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 3:20-21: In the ark a few, that is eight people, were saved through water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you (not the removal of filth from the flesh but the appeal of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • What does God do through baptism?


  • Do we understand, in some way, how God does this?


Matthew 26:26-28: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the many for the forgiveness of sins.

John 6:53-54: Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the Last Day.”

  • What does God do through His Son’s body and blood?


1 Corinthians 4:15: You may have ten thousand guardians in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Romans 10:17: So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.

  • What does God do through the proclaimed Gospel?


The Word coming to us in Christ’s forgiveness that a Christian brings to another

Article 5’s main point is about God’s means of grace coming to us by those in the Office of the Ministry. But the means of grace is not only delivered by pastors but by all Christians as they speak God’s Word to others in their various vocations.

Our Smalcald Articles say this:

God is extravagantly generous in His grace. First, through the spoken Word, through which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world [Luke 24:45-47]. This is a particular office of the Gospel. Second, through Baptism [1 Peter 3:21]. Third, through the holy Sacrament of the Altar [Matthew 26:28]. Fourth, through the Power of the Keys [Matthew 16:19; John 20:23]. Also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren, “Where two or three are gathered” (Matthew 18:20) and other such verses [Romans 1:12]. (SA, III, 4)


  • What is given to the pastor to do?


  • What is given to all Christians to do?


  • What is the “the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren”?


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