Today is the 487th anniversary since the booming voice of Christian Beyer read the Augsburg Confession to Emperor Charles V and to those waiting outside at the open windows. It defined the Lutheran understanding of the faith. Today we’ll hear a little of the background of this landmark confession, and what was remarkable about it; not least its declaration that:
‘…we received forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God out of grace for Christ’s sake through faith when we believe that Christ has suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us.’ (Translation of the German text, from sentences 1-2, Article IV, Augsburg Confession, 25 June 1530).
That this understanding had become at worst Iost and taught against, and at best obscured, reminds us that every so often in the life of the church and our community, it is vital to get back to basics and receive, relearn and confess in front of others what it is Scripture really does say about Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. Too hard? We can be assured that as we do, God the Father will accompany us, for: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from their Father” (Matthew 10:29 – NRSV). Moreover, Jesus, who commands us to declare his gospel promises that “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32: NIV 1984).