Luthers writing of the Smalcald Articles to explain what he believed taught and confessed is also believed taught and confessed by every Pastor who swears in his ordination vows a subscription to the Confessions. Luther said
“The first and chief article is this:
Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 4:24-25).
He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid upon Him the iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works or merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25).
This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law, or merit. Therefore it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us. As St. Paul says:
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28)
That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. [Romans 3:26]
Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls [Mark 13:31].
For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
And with His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Upon this article everything that we teach and practice depends, in opposition to the pope, the devil, and the whole world. Therefore, we must be certain and not doubt this doctrine. Otherwise, all is lost, and the pope, the devil, and all adversaries win the victory and the right over us.”