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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Monastic Vows – part 28
Again, the Confutation says that the monks merit a more abundant eternal life, quoting Scripture: “And every one who has left houses” etc. (Matt 19:29). Here also, therefore, it claims perfection for artificial religious rites. But this passage of Scripture is not even speaking of monastic life. Christ does not say that to forsake parents, wife, and siblings is a work that must be done to merit the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Such forsaking is accursed indeed. For the one who forsakes parents or wife in order to merit the forgiveness of sins or eternal life by this very work, dishonors Christ.
Pulling It Together: God’s commandments forbid the forsaking of parents. Yet in this teaching of Jesus about leaving one’s family—even children—for him, it is clear that Jesus is using hyperbole to make his point. His exaggeration helps us understand that we ought to “fear, love, and trust God above all things”—even family. Still, even this does not earn the forgiveness of sins or life eternal. Only Christ can do that for us; and he has done so. So, those who believe in Christ Jesus, despite the objections of family, even if it means being put out of their homes, receive far more than family and home can offer. Through their faith, they receive eternal life.
Prayer: Help me to honor and love my family, Lord, because I love you. Amen.
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The Great Commissions is a six-session Bible study drawing from all four Gospels, as well as the book of Acts and the writings of Paul, to focus on the calling that Jesus has given us and how it works in our everyday lives. Here is a sample PDF of the introduction and first chapter.