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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 19

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Colossians 3:18–24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

After this illusion of wisdom and righteousness has deceived people, infinite evils result. The gospel of the righteousness of faith in Christ is obscured, and vain confidence in such works follows. Then the commandments of God are obscured, for when these works lay claim to the title of a perfect and spiritual life, they are much preferred to the works of God’s commandments, such as one’s own calling, the administration of the state, the management of a family, married life, the bringing up of children. Compared with those religious ceremonies, vocations are considered profane, so that they are practiced by many with some doubt of conscience. For it is well known that many have abandoned the administration of the state and married life, in order to embrace these observances as better and holier.

Pulling It Together: When one realizes that righteousness does not come by doing religious things but by Christ having done everything for us, then we realize righteousness is something given to us through faith in Christ and by the grace of God. What results from this faith in Christ’s righteousness is the realization that all of the normal vocations of life may be just as holy and righteous—if not more so—as being a religious.

There is no need to enter a religious order to be righteous or lead a holy life. Christ makes husbands, wives, and parents as holy as priests. Senators and mayors, doctors and nurses, school teachers and soldiers are all made holy through faith in Christ. Once we believe that Christ gives us his holiness, without any of our works added, we are able to be at peace with our callings in life.

Prayer: Help me work for you, Lord, in such as way as brings you honor. Amen. 

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Where Two or Three Are Gathered is a guide for what Luther referred to as "mutual conversation and consolation" among believers. These are the times we come together one to one, as people of faith, to talk about our lives and struggles, and strengthen one another in prayer with the promise of God's grace and mercy. This devotional conversation guide may be used for a number of purposes and applications where people are looking for some help in structuring conversations on the practical and spiritual dimensions of Christian discipleship.

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