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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 22

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Revelation 3:7–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

We have already cited some testimonies, of which Paul overflows. He clearly says to the Colossians: “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col 2:16–17). He includes here both the law of Moses and human traditions at the same time, so that the adversaries may not resort to their typical practice and elude these testimonies on the ground that Paul is speaking only of the law of Moses. He clearly says here that he is speaking of human traditions. The adversaries do not know what they are claiming. If the gospel says that the divinely instituted ceremonies of Moses do not justify, how much less do human traditions justify!

Pulling It Together: If we are going to follow a command of God, let us keep this one: believe in his Son, Jesus Christ. For “this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (1 John 3:23). That is the greatest commandment, so let us keep that one and in so doing, keep all the rest. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). If we are to do one thing, let us do that very blessed thing: believe in Jesus Christ. Let faith in him be our only obligation and his Spirit in us will drive all other duties. Only, let us not call those responsibilities things that save us or reconcile us to God. Only Christ saves (Acts 4:12).

We may not have much power in this life, but there is one thing we can do. By the grace of God, we may believe. There is an “open door” set before us all; it is the invitation to faith in Christ. It is certainly not a command to earn salvation through keeping laws, for Christ is the end of the law (Rom 10:4).

Prayer: Claim me as your own, Lord, and give me faith. Amen. 

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Not My Will, But Yours: A Bible Study on the Bound Will explores the theme of human bondage seen throughout Scripture. From the Old Testament examples of people held in slavery whom God came to set free, to the New Testament examples of Jesus healing illnesses and casting out demons, we witness the Lord’s power of deliverance. Ultimately, all these stories point to the greatest act of God’s redemption in the cross, where Christ rescued us from our captivity to the powers of sin, death, and the devil.

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