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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Marriage of Priests – part 30

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2 Timothy 1:9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Here they might exclaim that we put marriage on par with celibacy, like Jovinian. But such clamoring will not cause us to reject the truth about the righteousness of faith that we have explained above. Still, we do not consider celibacy and marriage as equal. For just as one gift surpasses another—prophecy surpassing eloquence, military science surpassing agriculture, and eloquence surpassing architecture—celibacy is a more excellent gift than marriage. Yet, just as an orator is not more righteous before God because of his eloquence than an architect because of his skill in architecture, so a virgin does not merit justification through virginity more than a married person merits it by marital duties. Instead, each one ought to faithfully serve within his own gift, believing that he receives the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake, and through faith is accounted righteous before God.

Pulling It Together: Whether or not we concur with the rhetorical comparisons used by Melancthon, we may understand his point. That is, we cannot earn the favor of God. Rather, because of Christ’s work, those who believe are regarded as righteous by God. Whatever our gifts or vocation in life, we are to serve God faithfully with and within those gifts and vocations, never dreaming that our lot in life or the works we do justify us to God. That is always the work of Christ alone, as God graciously determined before all creation. So, how could justification possibly be the work of creatures like us?

Prayer: Thank you, O Father, for choosing before this world began, to save all who believe in your only Son our Lord. Amen.

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