CHIEF ARTICLES OF THE FAITH
1 Our churches teach that there is forgiveness of sins for those who have fallen after Baptism whenever they are converted. 2 The Church ought to impart Absolution to those who return to repentance [Jeremiah 3:12]. 3 Now, strictly speaking, repentance consists of two parts. 4 One part is contrition, that is, terrors striking the conscience through the knowledge of sin. 5 The other part is faith, which is born of the Gospel [Romans 10:17] or the Absolution and believes that for Christ’s sake, sins are forgiven. It comforts the conscience and delivers it from terror. 6 Then good works are bound to follow, which are the fruit of repentance [Galatians 5:22–23].
7 Our churches condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that those who have once been justified can lose the Holy Spirit. 8 They also condemn those who argue that some may reach such a state of perfection in this life that they cannot sin.
9 The Novatians also are condemned, who would not absolve those who had fallen after Baptism, though they returned to repentance.
10 Our churches also reject those who do not teach that forgiveness of sins comes through faith, but command us to merit grace through satisfactions of our own.
They also reject those who teach that it is necessary to perform works of satisfaction, commanded by Church law, in order to remit eternal punishment or the punishment of purgatory.
The Use of the Sacraments
1 Our churches teach that the Sacraments were ordained, not only to be marks of profession among men, but even more, to be signs and testimonies of God’s will toward us. 2 They were instituted to awaken and confirm faith in those who use them. Therefore, we must use the Sacraments in such a way that faith, which believes the promises offered and set forth through the Sacraments, is increased [2 Thessalonians 1:3].
3 Therefore, they condemn those who teach that the Sacraments justify simply by the act of doing them. They condemn those who do not teach that faith, which believes that sins are forgiven, is required in the use of the Sacraments.
Order in the Church
Our churches teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church, or administer the Sacraments, without a rightly ordered call.
1 Our churches teach that ceremonies ought to be observed that may be observed without sin. Also, ceremonies and other practices that are profitable for tranquility and good order in the Church (in particular, holy days, festivals, and the like) ought to be observed.
2 Yet, the people are taught that consciences are not to be burdened as though observing such things was necessary for salvation [Colossians 2:16–17]. 3 They are also taught that human traditions instituted to make atonement with God, to merit grace, and to make satisfaction for sins are opposed to the Gospel and the doctrine of faith. 4 So vows and traditions concerning meats and days, and so forth, instituted to merit grace and to make satisfaction for sins, are useless and contrary to the Gospel.
Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 36
Soli Deo Gloria