The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord

 
"This child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel."
LUKE 2:34
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The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord
Christ came to be a light and Savior of all the world, as Simeon said, and everyone is justified and saved through faith in Him. For that to happen, all other righteousness which is sought in ourselves with works apart from Christ must be rejected. . .. [The works-righteous] depend on their works, they stumble against faith, they fall on Christ, so that they burn, condemn, and persecute all who reject their works or consider them useless .... As now the falling and breaking is nothing other than unbelief and sinking into works, so the rising and being built upon this rock is nothing other than believing and withdrawing from works. These are the believers. Christ has been appointed for the rising of them and no one else. And as at Christ's time many in Israel rose in Him, so it will be until the end of the world, for nobody can rise through his works, or through the doctrines of men, but only through Christ. This is brought about by faith, as has often been said, without any works or merit. The works must first follow after the rising.

From the Church Postil, sermon for the Sunday after Christmas on Luke 2:33-40 (Luther's Works 75:406-7)
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