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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 8


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1 John 2:1–6

From the Confessions: The Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows

It cannot be denied that the monks have taught that they were justified and merited forgiveness of sins by their vows and observances. Yet they invented even greater absurdities, saying that they could give others a share in their works. If anyone should be inclined to enlarge on these things with malicious intent, more could be cited that even monks are ashamed of now. Beyond this, they persuaded men that the services they fabricated produced a state of Christian perfection. What can be made of this than assigning justification to works? It is no small sin in the Church to put before the people a service devised by humans and without the commandment of God, and to teach that such service justifies. For the righteousness of faith, which ought to be the chief teaching in the Church, is obscured when these wonderful, “angelic” forms of worship, with their display of poverty, humility, and celibacy, are put on stage.

Pulling It Together: Christ is the sole player in our perfection. He has made satisfaction and atonement for our sins. We can add nothing to his perfect work on the cross. So, perfection consists in keeping the faith despite one's lot in life. We are called to keep his commandments, not ones that we construct. He commands us to follow him, to believe, to keep the faith where we live, not in some special location apart from real life. When we do this, we keep his word, and the love of God is perfected in us. So, we can see that anyone may follow Christ. Mothers, fathers, children, civil servants, teachers, doctors, attorneys, police, and all other people may follow our Lord in faith without leaving their calling in life. There is no more perfect service to God than to follow him where you are.

Prayer: Help me to follow you faithfully today, Lord, for your sake. Amen. 

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