Sixth Sunday after Trinity
You all know the proof texts. We are saved by grace, not by works. (cf. Acts 15:11; Ephesians 2:5, 8; 2 Timothy 1:9) You all know what Lutherans confess according to the Third Article of the Creed. “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him...” Through no merits of your own are you saved. Your salvation is wholly and completely dependent upon Jesus Christ and the work He has done.
From the cross, you have heard the completion of that work. As the last words of Jesus from the cross are numbered to 7, His penultimate word was τέτελεσται—it is finished! (cf. John 19:30) With that, He commended His spirit to the Father and breathed His last. The work of your salvation was accomplished, completed, finished. And if Jesus has completed the work, then there is nothing left for you to do. It is finished, and salvation is yours by completely and wholly by the grace of God.
It is for that reason that many Lutherans today balk at all talk of works. The Ten Commandments become little more than a list for confirmands to memorize. Outside of catechesis and confirmation, though, there is no practical use for the Ten Commandments for many Lutherans.