“Our churches teach that the remembrance of the saints is to be commended in order that we may imitate their faith and good works according to our calling.” (Augsburg Confession 21)
The Lutheran reformers understood that there was great benefit in remembering the saints whom God has given to His Church. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Article 21) gives three reasons for such honor. First, we thank God for giving faithful servants to His Church. Second, through such remembrance our faith is strengthened as we see the mercy that God extended to His saints of old. Third, these saints are examples by which we may imitate both their faith and their holy living according to our calling in life.
Their defense of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith and/or their virtuous living have caused these individuals to stand out over time as persons worthy of recognition. In every case, the purpose of our remembrance is not that we honor these saints for their own sake, but as examples of those in whom the saving work of Jesus Christ has been made manifest to the glory of His holy name and to the praise of His grace and mercy.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. ” (Hebrews 12:1)