Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 10


For thousands of years, the priests of the temples sacrificed animals to atone for our sins. I cannot imagine how many animals were killed, but because they were not the perfect sacrifice, it never provided the perfect atonement necessary for us. We received the perfect sacrifice from Jesus Christ on the cross. The prior sacrifices were a constant reminder of our sinful nature and that we would never receive the complete atonement we craved. It took our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, to provide the necessary perfect sacrifice. The moment He did the first covenant was abolished, and the new covenant, the atonement of our sins through the blood of Christ, was installed.

What a wonderful gist He gave us.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

The Five Solas, pt. 5

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Glory to God Alone

It’s taken me a while (and I still struggle with this) to realize that God owns everything.  Yup, it’s all His.  You’d have to wind it all back to the creation and then bring it forward again when you think about this.  Since God created the Heavens and the earth and all the things in it then even now everything is His.

OK, from my little bit of learning, I understand that everything in the world is made up of atoms.  The atoms are made up of neutrons and protons and those are made up from quarks.  I’m not a scientist and I don’t want a lot of flack about this, however, after a bit of research I’ve found that all these neurons and protons are held together by a “strong force”.  I haven’t found anything that really explains what the “strong force” is beyond a electromagnetical field.  WHEW!!  Yes, we are talking quantum physics here!!

My point in bringing all this up is that God created all this and I believe He is holding it all together.  Wow, try to wrap your mind around that one.  Maybe He is the “strong force”!

I have to mention here that when Eve bit into that apple way back at the beginning, sin took hold on this earth and that is why there is so much trouble now.  But God is the maker.  Glory to God Alone!

The Five Solas, pt 4

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Scripture Alone

The Reformation brought about a different thinking about the Scriptures then what was done before Luther’s time.  Tradition and the Pope were considered authorities.  In other words, what the Pope decreed was the truth.  No matter that he is a human like you and me.  Luther was against this and said that Scripture alone was the only authority that we needed to live by.  Below is a portion of the speech that Luther gave at the Diet of Worms in 1521.  This counsel of the Church was trying to get Luther to recant the 95 thesis and other writings:

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience…. May God help me. Amen.

After Luther declared this he was considered a heretic and the church wanted him jailed and punished.

It saddens my heart to see that today, people set aside what the Bible says, going their own way and thinking that it doesn’t matter.  The Scriptures are the Word of God and in them is all instruction for life.  We all should read more of it.

The Five Solas, pt 3

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Through Christ Alone

I can’t write anything that would explain this sola better than this song.  I get chills every time I hear this song.  Here are the lyrics:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

I love this recording by Adrienne Leisching & Geoff Moore.  I hope you enjoy it too.

A Reformation Reading List


You know I can’t let a month go by without recommending some reading.  I found this Reading List for Lutherans.  What could be more appropriate for our month on the Reformation.  Let us know if you plan to read some of these.

A Reading List for Lutherans Quality, Lay-Friendly Books That Will Stretch and Shape the Lutheran Mind Easy reading: *                    More challenging: **                    Really challenging, but worth it: *** prepared by Gene Edward Veith
BASIC LUTHERANISM Gene Veith. Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals.* I wrote this one. It’s the book that I wish I had found before I became a Lutheran. It explains the Lutheran distinctives and the richness of Lutheran spirituality in what I hope is a lucid and engaging way. Scot A. Kinnaman, ed. Lutheranism 101.* A comprehensive, easy-to-read guide to Lutheranism, written in form of short articles, sound-bites, sidebars and illustrations. J. T. Mueller. Christian Dogmatics.** A systematic survey of Lutheran doctrine, as understood by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, with Bible verses to back up every point. This is a summary of Francis Pieper’s fourvolume Christian Dogmatics. Steven D. Paulson. Lutheran Theology.*** Some may think Lutheranism is staid and respectable, but this book shows just how radical and mind-blowing Lutheranism — with its teachings about the Law and Gospel, the Word and Sacraments — really is.
THE CONFESSIONS The Book of Concord. As the definitive authority in all things Lutheran, this book is in a category by itself. The creeds and the catechisms*; the Lutheran Confessions of faith (Augsburg, Smalcald Articles, Formula of Concord, Treatise on the Primacy of the Pope)**; the extended defenses of those Confessions (the Apology of the Augsburg Confession and the Thorough Declaration of the Formula of Concord***.
LUTHERAN CLASSICS C. F. W. Walther. Law & Gospel. ** The founder of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod explains to 19th-century seminary students how to properly distinguish the Law and the Gospel and how to preach them so as to bring sinners to Christ. This book offers both stimulating theology as it lays out the distinctive Lutheran approach to Scripture and comforting devotional reading as it plumbs the depths of what Christ has done for us. Bo Giertz. The Hammer of God.* This is a novel by a Swedish bishop, depicting three generations of Lutheran pastors, who each have to deal with the religious fads of their day — pietism, rationalism, liberalism — ultimately finding in their ministries the strength of Lutheran orthodoxy. Martin Chemnitz. The Two Natures in Christ.*** Chemnitz is second only to Luther among the great Lutheran theologians. His brilliant work on Christology — dealing with the incarnation, whereby Christ who is truly God and truly man atones for our sins and the “communication of the attributes,” whereby Christ’s body and blood are truly present in Holy Communion — is a hallmark of Lutheran theology. Charles Porterfield Krauth. The Conservative Reformation.** Written in 1871 by an American Lutheran scholar, this book is a masterpiece of historical theology, showing the differences between the conservative Reformation of the Lutherans and the more radical Reformation of the Calvinists and Anabaptists. Moreover, it shows how those differences remain important today.
WORKS BY MARTIN LUTHER The Freedom of the Christian.** This early work by the Reformer proclaims the freedom we have in the Gospel. It also lays the groundwork for Luther’s doctrine of vocation. This treatise sets forth the classic paradox of the Christian life: “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.” And it teaches how we are to be “little Christs to each other.” Sermons.* Luther is among the most pastoral of theologians, and his many published sermons show him as a vivid expositor of God’s Word and, for all of the polemical fury that sometimes breaks out, as a compassionate minister to troubled souls. In his sermons, we often see Luther’s humor as well as his wisdom as he applies God’s Word to the ordinary people of his time.
Letters of Spiritual Counsel.* Here we see Luther’s pastoral heart, as he offers spiritual counsel to ordinary Christians of his day who struggle with some of the same issues that we do today. Commentaries.** Luther’s theology is drawn from the Bible, so his Bible commentaries are some of his profoundest works. Two good places to start are his Commentary on Galatians, which is a sustained critique of works righteousness, and his Commentary on Romans, whose explanation of justification by grace through faith led to the conversion of John Bunyan and John Wesley. His commentaries on the Psalms make rich devotional reading and his multi-volume Commentary on Genesis contains, among other things, a thorough treatment of vocation and the Christian’s life in the world. Bondage of the Will.*** This full-throated argument against the humanism of the Renaissance genius Erasmus is considered some of Luther’s greatest theological writing, but it is not for the faint of heart.
BIOGRAPHIES OF MARTIN LUTHER Roland Bainton. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther.* This is an acknowledged masterpiece of the art of biography — compelling, easy-to-read and insightful into Luther’s tumultuous life and times. Martin Brecht. Martin Luther. 3 vols.** This exhaustive multi-volume treatment is the definitive scholarly biography of Luther. Heiko Oberman. Luther: Man Between God and the Devil.*** A deep psychological and spiritual treatment of Luther.
LUTHERAN THEOLOGY Hermann Sasse. We Confess Anthology.** This German theologian defied Adolf Hitler and his attempts to Nazify the Christian Church. He later emigrated to Australia, where he served as a seminary professor and as a major influence on confessional Lutheranism around the world. This book collects a number of Sasse’s works on Christ, the Sacraments and contemporary theological issues. See also the two volume collection of Sasse’s letters and essays, The Lonely Way. Francis Pieper, Church Dogmatics. 4 vols.** The definitive systematic theology for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, sketching out each topic in detail with full Scriptural evidence. Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics.** An ongoing series of volumes — six so far with more to come — by different authors, updating Pieper’s work and addressing contemporary theological issues. Oswald Bayer. Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation.*** A distinguished contemporary theologian shows how Luther’s theology addresses modern and postmodern thought in a sophisticated way. Robert Kolb and Charles Arand. The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Theology for the Contemporary Church.* Two major LCMS scholars of the Lutheran Confessions show their relevance and that of Luther to contemporary issues in the Church.
VOCATION Gene Veith. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life.* My book explores Luther’s doctrine of vocation on a popular level. Paul Althaus. Ethics of Martin Luther.** An important theological scholar explores Luther’s teachings about life in the world, including both Luther’s doctrine of vocation and his doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. Gustav Wingren. Luther on Vocation.*** The key book on vocation with paradigm-shifting insights on every page.
THEOLOGY OF THE CROSS Richard C. Eyer. Pastoral Care under the Cross: God in the Midst of Suffering.* A hospital chaplain tells about how he applies Luther’s theology of the cross — as opposed to the more common “theology of glory” — as he ministers to the sick, the suffering and the dying. Alister E. McGrath. Luther’s Theology of the Cross: Martin Luther’s Theological Breakthrough.** A prominent British theologian explores the centrality of the theology of the cross in Luther’s life and thought. Gerhard Forde. On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518.*** A sometimes controversial theologian, an advocate of what he called “radical Lutheranism” explores some of Luther’s most radical ideas. In addition to Forde’s commentary, the book includes an edition of Luther’s Heidelberg Theses, in which the reformer outlined his teachings about how God comes to us in suffering and weakness, rather than in success

The Five Solas, pt. 2

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Grace Alone

The second Sola I’m writing about is Grace Alone.  It goes with the Faith: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)  Gee, what else can I write, that about says it all.

God’s Grace is so amazing.  The ancient Hebrews built altars to sacrifice animals, birds and grain to atone for sins.  We have Christ, who sacrificed himself for us.  You see, there had to be sacrifice for the atonement of all mankind’s sins.  That is the way God first set it up.  So God sent his Son to do be the sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the world.

OK, you say, so everyone is saved.  Not quite.  That’s where the faith comes in.  We have to have the faith in Christ, believe that he died for us, to accept this gift that he gave us.  It’s like a billionaire giving away money.  If you were told that you could have an amount of money (let’s make it big, $100,000) for free, all you had to do is go and accept it, you’d do that, right?  Whooo Hoo, someone is giving away money, let’s go!!  If only we felt the same way about God’s wonderful and amazing gift.  We don’t need to do a thing, just accept it.

OK, you say, so I’ll just keep sinning to get more Grace.  It’s true, we are all sinners and we all sin each and every day.  But in his letter to the Romans, Paul address this:  “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?    By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”  (Romans 6:1-2)  No, you will not want to sin anymore.  Once you’ve been given this gift you will not want to sin. 

So…  Grace Alone by Faith Alone.  We’re building to the best part: Christ Alone.

The Five Solas, pt One


This Saturday St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Leitersburg, Maryland is going to have a workshop on the Five Solas that came out of the Reformation.  I’m really glad about this because I have to let you know that I haven’t had a lot of teaching on these subjects.  I’ve had teachings on the topics of the Solas, but not the Five Solas all together and how they fit together.  Here are the Solas:

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Earlier this year I couldn’t tell you all of the Solas off the top of my head, but now they are not only getting into my head they are starting to work down in my heart.

Faith Alone

Only by faith are we saved by Grace (that would be Grace Alone, but that’s next!).  So, what is faith?  We all have faith.  It goes hand in hand with trust.  We have faith that the sun will rise in the morning, that we will wake up, that most people will follow the driving laws.  We have trust in our banks, our schools, our government…  at least until that trust is broken.

Sometimes I struggle with this.  Faith and works, works and faith.  I’m not saved by what I do.  I can be the best person I can be and still, I am a sinner.  All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23)  I can do works all the time, you know the stuff…  feeding the poor, helping the homeless, but if I do it out of a sense that I have to do this to be a good person, then I’m doing it for the wrong reason.  Right thing; Wrong Reason.  People will say “Oh, what a good person you are…”.  That is not the right way to go about it.

If I put my faith in God First and then I feel compelled to serve others (and you should) then that is the Right Thing; Right Reason.  We don’t go out to do works so everyone will say “You’re so good, let me pat you on the back!”.  In fact, we shouldn’t let anyone know of our works.  “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18)

My struggle?  Just writing this blog is a struggle.  I don’t want people to pat me on the back because I have the “confidence” or “skill” to write on the internet where anyone and everyone can see it.  It’s not me.  I don’t write because I want praise.  I write because I feel compelled to help others understand.  I don’t go to church so others will see me there, I go to church for me.  I need church more than the church needs me.  I don’t do the things I do for praise.  I do them for the Lord.   Only by Faith Alone am I saved….



The Lutheran Seal


Martin Luther’s Seal

“From the wilderness of Koburg Castle
8 July 1530
Honorable, kind, dear Sir and Friend!Grace and Peace in Christ!

Since you ask whether my seal has come out correctly, I shall answer most amiably and tell you of those thoughts which now come to my mind about my seal as a symbol of my theology.  There is first to be a cross, black, and placed in a heart, which should be of its natural color (red), to put me in mind that faith in Christ crucified saved us. For if one believes from the heart, he will be justified. [“For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”  –Romans 10:10] Even though it is a black cross, which mortifies and which also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its natural color and does not ruin nature…that is, the cross does not kill, but keeps man alive. For the just shall live by faith, by faith in the Savior. [“This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight.  This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.  As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.'”  –Romans 1:17]

Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace.  In a word, it places the believer into a white joyful rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy as the world gives. [“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  –John 14:27] Therefore, the rose is to be white, not red, for white is the color of the spirits and of all angels.  [“ angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it.  His face shone like lightening, and his clothing was as white as snow.” –Matthew 28:2b-3  and  “She saw two white-robed angels sitting at the head and foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.”  –John 20:12]

This rose, moreover, is fixed in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in the Spirit and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy.  It is already a part of faith, and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifest.

And around this field is a golden ring, to signify that such bliss in heaven is endless, and more precious than all joys and goods, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.

May Christ, our dear Lord, be with your spirit until the life to come.  Amen.”





More Just for Lutheran Fun


I also sang this silly song in Luther League years ago?  Who else remembers it?  We want to hear from you.



At Concordia University Chicago (or River Forest to us old-timers), we used to sing this silly little rhyme about Luther:

Good ol’ Marty Luther,
Good ol’ Marty Luther,
I think the Reformation’s grand!
With his five and ninety theses,
He tore the Pope to pieces,
And made me who I am! LCMS!

In looking for the lyrics online, I found a different version that reads similar:

I love Martin Luther,
Good old Martin Luther,
I think the Reformation’s grand!
His five and ninety theses,
They tore the Pope to pieces,
Now on the solid rock I stand!

At the time, it was a silly joke to us about being Lutheran.  I was Lutheran because that’s what I grew up, not because I cared about what they taught more than any other church.  As I’ve spent more time in ministry, I’ve come to appreciate the gifts that Luther brought to…

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