From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Human Traditions in the Church
The Fathers had these reasons for maintaining rites, and for these reasons we also judge it is right that traditions be maintained. We are greatly surprised, however, that the adversaries contend for another reason for traditions, namely, that they may merit the remission of sins, grace, or justification. What else is this than to honor God with gold and silver and precious stones—in other words, to believe that God becomes reconciled by a variety in clothing, ornaments, and by similar rites, such as are infinite in human traditions?
Pulling It Together: Maintaining rites for the sake of order in the Church is one thing. But to contend that these rites justify God is in opposition to the doctrine of the apostles, and contrary to both the Old and New Testaments. Sacrifice, whether animal or gold, is worthless to God without faith. Sacrifice, ceremony, and good works should all be responses of faith. God is greatly displeased with anything given with the idea that doing that thing will merit forgiveness and salvation. The remission of sins and eternal life is only received through faith in Christ. He is the only sacrifice that pleases God.
Prayer: Help me to hear your word, Lord, and respond in faith. Amen.
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Go and Tell, unit 2 in the Word of Life Series, is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.