From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Human Traditions in the Church
This topic of traditions contains many difficult and controversial questions. We have actually experienced that traditions are unquestionable snares for consciences. When they are required, the omission of any observance tortures in extraordinary ways the conscience. Again their abrogation has its own evils and its own questions.
But our case is plain and simple because the adversaries condemn us for teaching that human traditions do not merit the forgiveness of sins. They also require universal traditions, as they call them, as necessary for justification. Here we have as a constant champion Paul, who everywhere contends that these observances neither justify nor are necessary to be added to the righteousness of faith.
Pulling It Together: Start to read through the Bible in a year, and you will probably get behind at some point. Guilt will likely set in, especially if you do not catch up right away. Some people even wonder about their salvation when they cannot perform such acts of devotion. Try to pray the Hours and you will almost surely miss Matins some morning. Canon law requires some religious orders to pray the entire Liturgy of the Hours every day. Being part of a group that does these things, or doing them on your own, is fine. It is a good tradition and a valuable discipline. But to require such things as being necessary for justification, a reconciled God, forgiveness of sins, and therefore, salvation, is not what Scripture tells us.
The Bible tells us to apply ourselves to doing good but to not depend upon our good works for salvation. We must trust in the kind mercy of our loving God to justify us by his grace, and in doing so, make us inheritors of the hope of eternal life.
Prayer: Thank you for saving me—even me. Amen.
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Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2016-17. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Growing in Faith." The key Bible verse comes from Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies, how they grow...”