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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Monastic Vows – part 17

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1 Timothy 4:1–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

It is also untrue that monastic observances are works advised by the gospel. The gospel does not counsel distinctions of clothing and foods, or relinquishing property. These are human traditions, all being answered with, “Food will not commend us to God” (1 Cor 8:8). Therefore, they are neither justifying services nor perfection. Indeed, when they are presented under cover of these titles, they are mere “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1).

Pulling It Together

We easily see that Paul, himself of the pharisaic tradition (Phil 3:5), taught that Christians leave the faith when they devote themselves to legal requirements such as those under consideration. These things make us no more righteous before God than anyone else. What we do does not “commend us to God.” These actions do not provide us with any merit or virtue before him. Christ has done that for us; have faith in him, not in your religious acts. They are devils who suggest that Christ Jesus is unnecessary and superfluous since justification and life eternal may be had for a price or because of a religious lifestyle.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your Spirit who commends me to you for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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