Happy All Saints’ Day! The Augsburg Confession, one of the definitive Lutheran doctrinal statements, says this about saints: “The memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling.”
Note the vocational emphasis. After the jump, see what else Phillip Melanchthon says on the subject. (HT: Mathew Block)
The term “saints,” in this sense, goes beyond those declared to be saints by the Roman Catholic Church. Ordinary Christians, in their faith, are saints, though they are sinners too. And some of these can serve as inspiring examples. I have known Christians in my life who exemplify that kind of sanctity and who have shown me what Christianity lived out looks like.
What “memory” do you have of saints you have known?
Article XXI, Augsburg Confession – Book of Concord
1] Of the Worship of Saints they teach that the memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling, as the Emperor may follow the example of David in making war to drive away the Turk from his country. 2] For both are kings. But the Scripture teaches not the invocation of saints or to ask help of saints, since it sets before us the one Christ as the Mediator, Propitiation, High Priest, and Intercessor. 3] He is to be prayed to, and has promised that He will hear our prayer; and this worship He approves above all, to wit, that in all afflictions He be called upon, 1 John 2:1: 4] If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, etc.