Reformation 500:
The Just Shall Live By Faith
(part 2)
October 2017

Dear Friends in Christ,
This month we will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation with a Reformation Solas sermon series, special events, Bible studies, a Children's Reformation Chapel service and Reformation Walk.  We will join with Lutherans throughout the region at Concordia University St. Paul for a Reformation 500 celebration service.  In commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, this TLO Disciple will build on last month's theme of the Reformation focusing on Justification.  We give thanks to God for Martin Luther and the Reformers who served the Lord faithfully proclaiming that salvation is by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone.

Soli Deo Gloria

Pastor James L. Kroonblawd

Join us each Sunday in October 
for the sermon series "Sola: What Matters Most."


Justification was the watchword of the Reformation. Five hundred years ago, it stood at the center of Luther's struggle to restore Christian hope and consolation over and against an ambivalent church hierarchy. Christus pro nobis - "Christ for us," a gift, without regard for our acts of devotion or any other good works - this is what it meant to be "justified by faith alone." But what did justification mean for Christians before Luther? What place does it have for us today? Join us as we commemorate, celebrate and rediscover justification as a word of life for today.

Reformation 500 activities at TLO
Tuesday, October 31      |     7:30  - 10:00 a.m.      |     TLO

TLO Lutheran School hosting a Reformation 500 Solas Celebration on Reformation Day, Join us for these activities in celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

7:30 a.m. Welcome - Guests, grandparents, congregation members, community members, gather in the Narthex on the sanctuary level for coffee and pastries.

8:05 a.m. Reformation Day School Chapel - Join the TLO Lutheran School for chapel that will focus on the 3 Ssolas: Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone.  The school children will sing during the chapel service.

9:00 a.m. Reformation Walk - Step back 500 years-all in one day. Experience the sights and sounds of the time of Martin Luther. Along the way, you will meet people who played a role in transforming the Church and the world-forever. Preview at

Continuous Loop - Travel the Luther Mile  -  President Harrison narrates a tour of historic Reformation sites. Along with historical facts, Harrison provides informative anecdotes during this tour of Lutherstadt, Wittenberg, Germany.

Special Chapel Offering for Disaster Relief  
An offering will be taken during the Reformation 500 Chapel to support Lutheran Schools that have been impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and surrounding states.

Our thanks to Thrivent Action Team Grants for providing funding support for the Reformation 500 Solas Celebration event.

All are welcome!

The just shall live by faith. 

Justification, Our 'Chief Article'
Matthew C. Harrison

"This article concerning justification by faith ... is the chief article in the entire Christian doctrine, without which no poor conscience can have any firm consolation, or can truly know the riches of the grace of Christ." (F.C. S.D. III, 6)

It's not uncommon to hear it said that the word justification ought not be used. Our Lutheran Confessions, however, call it the "chief article." Actually, there is nothing more familiar to people today than "justification." Not only are we the most litigious society in history, all of us are bent on self-justification. I justify my actions; my production at work; my inaction.  
Read entire article.  

From the Bible

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"   Galatians 5:13-14

Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) and Martin Luther were the most significant theologians and architects of the Lutheran Reformation. Melanchthon served alongside Luther at the university in Wittenberg, and was the chief drafter of the Augsburg Confession. In the following writing, Melanchthon articulates what it means to be justified by faith according to the New Testament. - Editor

We must carefully consider the term "faith" and see what Paul is doing when he says that we are not justified by our works but by faith in Christ. This is new language to Roman ears, and we must at the very beginning seek the genuine and simple interpretation of it. To be justified by works means to obtain forgiveness of sins and to be righteous or accepted before God by reason of our own virtues or deeds. On the other hand, to be justified by faith in Christ means to obtain remission of sins, to be counted as righteous, that is, accepted by God, not because of our own virtues but for the sake of the Mediator, the Son of God. When we understand this word this way, then we can see how this proposition that we are justified by faith, which is the voice of the Gospel, is used by Paul in opposition to the other concept, which is the voice of human reason or the Law, that we are justified by works. As the Baptist cries, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world;' John 1:29, so Paul wants to present this doctrine to us, and he teaches that remission of sins and reconciliation are given to us for the sake of the Son of God and not for the sake of our virtues.

Thus, when he says that we are justified by faith, he wants you to behold the Son of God sitting at the right hand of the Father as the Mediator who intercedes for us, and to understand that your sins are forgiven you because you are considered or pronounced just, that is, accepted, for the sake of His own Son, who was the Sacrifice. Therefore, in order that the word "faith" may point to this Mediator and apply to us, "faith" refers not only to historical knowledge but also to trust (fiducia) in the mercy promised for the sake of the Son of God.

Thus, this statement that we are righteous by faith must always be understood as correlative, that is, connected with being righteous by trusting that we have been received by mercy for the sake of Christ, and not because of our virtues. This mercy is laid hold on by faith or trust. Paul says this in order that he may present to us this Mediator and Lamb, take away from us our glorying in our own righteousness, and testify that we have been received by God for the sake of this Propitiator.

There is no doubt that this is Paul's thinking, and it is absolutely clear in the church that his opinion is correct and true. All the saints confess that even if they have new virtues, yet they do not receive remission of sin or reconciliation because of them but only for the sake of the Son of God, the Propitiator. Therefore we must understand the statement, "By faith we have remission;" to mean that by this trust we are received for the sake of God's Son.

But there are those who reply to this discussion that it is absolutely ridiculous and meaningless to say that "having been justified by faith we have peace with God;' Rom. 5:1. They do not understand what it is to have a struggle of conscience with fears and doubts, when one is anxious about the remission of his sins; and they do not know the tremblings which take place in true repentance. If they would consider these things they would know that terrified hearts seek consolation outside themselves, and this consolation is the trust with which the will rests in the promise of mercy given for the sake of the Mediator. Faith embraces both trust in the mercy of God and knowledge of the historical events, that is, it looks to Christ, of whom it is necessary to know that He is the Son of the eternal God, crucified for us, raised again, etc. The historical facts must be applied to the promise or the effect of His work, as it is set forth in this article, namely: "I believe in the forgiveness of sins." Again this article warns that faith must be understood as trust. For to him who does not trust that his sins are forgiven him, the words, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins" are useless.

- Excerpted from Philip Melanchthon, The Chief Theological Topics: Loci Praecipui Theologici 1559, trans. J.A.O. Preus, 2nd English ed. 150-51 © 2011 Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission.  Posted Aug 11, 2016

In Luther's Words...

A Christian is an utterly free man, 
lord of all, subject to none.

A Christian is an utterly dutiful man, 
servant of all, subject to all.

--Martin Luther

On the Freedom of the Christian

Martin Luther had much to say on the topic of Christian freedom in his tract from 1520. On the Freedom of the Christian was published in Wittenberg as the third of three writings that characterized the evangelical theology of the Reformation.

Celebrate the 500th Anniversary 
of the Reformation at Concordia St. Paul

Join  in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Oct. 28-29, 2017. The focal event for Reformation 500 is a festival worship service in the Gangelhoff Center on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4:00pm, featuring in person preaching of LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, drama, music, and dance. Other exciting weekend events include the Tony-award winning play Luther, a juried art show, and a display of Reformation archives.   Click for full details


Do you have a suggested topic for an upcoming TLO Disciple?  Send an email to Pastor Kroonblawd by clicking here.


TLO Disciple, with a topical study in each issue, is distributed primarily via email on the first of every month.  Print copies are available by contacting the TLO Church office at  651-454-7235 or the  Church Office via email.
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Soli Deo gloria

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