From the Confessions: The Augsburg Confession
The bishops were not ignorant of these abuses, and if they had corrected them, there would now be less discord. By their own collusion, they permitted many corruptions to creep into the Church. Now, when it is too late, they complain of the troubles of the Church, when this disturbance developed simply because of abuses that were so apparent that they could no longer be suffered. There have been great dissensions concerning the Mass—the Sacrament. Perhaps the world is being punished for tolerating these sacrileges of the Mass in the churches for so many centuries by the very men who were both able and obligated to correct them. For in the Ten Commandments it is written, “The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exod 20:7). But since the beginning of the world, nothing that God ever ordained seems to have been so abused for the sake of revenue as the Mass.
Pulling It Together: It is bad enough when people who know better turn a blind eye to the truth. It is worse when they do so for financial reward. This was a leading problem facing the Church, not only at the time of the Reformation but for hundreds of years prior to the reform efforts of the Lutherans. Doctrine should be rightly taught and for the right reason. The Church's pastors are called to teach the pure Word of God, no matter how difficult due to either current social convention or long-standing neglect of error in the Church itself. They must do so without coercion or profit. Purchasing the Sacrament for personal merit with God is an erroneous handling of God's Word, but urging others to do so, when one knows better, is reprehensible. Invoking the name of the Lord for false practice and profit was a deliberate misuse of the second commandment. The Reformers would tolerate this obvious abuse of the Sacrament no longer, and exhorted the rest of the Church to cease merchandising the gift of God.
Prayer: Lord God, correct the false intents of my heart and make me guiltless through your righteousness. Amen.
This booklet teaches the Ten Commandments according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism and is recommended for the Third Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. Lessons emphasize a Lutheran understanding of God's Word as both Law and Gospel, calling for faithful obedience and showing the need for Christ's forgiveness and grace.