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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Monastic Vows
Of course, the monks live more closely in accordance with the gospel in their pretend life. But Christ does not follow Moses by forgiving sins because of our works, but by setting his own merits and his own propitiation against God’s wrath on our behalf so that we may be freely forgiven. Whoever places his own merits, apart from Christ’s satisfaction, against God’s wrath, who on account of his own merits endeavors to obtain the forgiveness of sins, whether through the works of the Mosaic Law, or of the Decalogue, or of the rule of Benedict, or of the rule of Augustine, or of other rules, cancels the promise of Christ, has rejected Christ, and has fallen from grace. This is Paul’s verdict.
Pulling It Together: Scripture is clear: those who try to justify their sin by their works have fallen from grace. We cannot balance the scales by placing good works against bad works. It is not a matter of weights and measures. The concern is holiness and righteousness. So, of course, people try to be righteous by doing good and being good. The problem is, they are not good. They are sinners. They may sin less than before, but in their essence, they are sinners. They were born to the condition.
God has solved this problem by replacing our unrighteousness with his own perfect righteousness. He has done this by the work of Christ alone. He did not require our assistance. Our help is still unnecessary since Christ’s work was wholly sufficient to the task. Anyone who believes otherwise has spurned Christ. We enjoy his grace and have the hope of eternal life only because of Christ (Rom 5:2).
Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to love your law, but put my faith in you. Amen.
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Dwell In My Love! - Word of Life Series (Unit 3) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.