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Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article I–Christ and Faith

 Tappert1 The first and chief article is this, that Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, “was put to death for our trespasses and raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). 2 He alone is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “God has laid upon him the iniquities of us all” (Isa. 53:6). 3 Moreover, “all have sinned,” and “they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, by his blood” (Rom. 3:23-25).

4 Inasmuch as this must be believed and cannot be obtained or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that such faith alone justifies us, as St. Paul says in Romans 3, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Rom. 3:28), and again, “that he [God] himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

5 Nothing in this article can be given up or compromised,6 even if heaven and earth and things temporal should be destroyed. For as St. Peter says, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “And with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).

On this article rests all that we teach and practice against the pope, the devil, and the world. Therefore we must be quite certain and have no doubts about it. Otherwise all is lost, and the pope, the devil, and all our adversaries will gain the victory. (Tappert edition, The Book of Concord)

A question of compromise…

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, the noun compromise can mean: 1) a settlement in which each side gives up some demands or makes concessions,  2)    a) an adjustment of opposing principles, systems, etc. by modifying some aspects of each b) the result of such an adjustment, 3)    something midway between two other things in quality, effect, etc., or 4)    a) exposure, as of one’s reputation, to danger, suspicion, or disrepute b) a weakening, as of one’s principles.

The verb, to compromise, can mean: 1)   to settle or adjust by concessions on both sides, 2)    to lay open to danger, suspicion, or disrepute, 3)    to weaken or give up (one’s principles, ideals, etc.) as for reasons of expediency, 4)    Med. to weaken or otherwise impair !drugs that compromised his immune system.”

Temptation to compromise the faith is always present, for the Christian and for the Church.  As long as one is in the flesh, the struggle will rage.

The time for compromise, to give in to the state when it would compel organizations to neglect, or forsake, their principles, especially on such a matter as the adoption of children by homosexual “couples,” is not now or ever (A question of compromise OneNewsNow.com).   Not only would a “modification” mean a loss of credibility for the LCFS (and by extension, the LCMS), it would open wider the door for further policy changes.  In addition, such action would give approval to behavior which God calls sinful.

Should the LCMS continue “business as usual” if the LCFS changes its policy in favor of the state and idly “stand by,” not only will the LCFS be compromising, so will the LCMS.  Her confession will be weakened in the sight of the world, as well as among her own pastors and congregations.

Any concession by the church or a churchly organization approving of sin, or giving the impression that sinful behavior is acceptable, misrepresents Christ, profanes God’s Name, and falls under God’s judgment (Romans 1:32).

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