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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Ecclesiastical Power
On the other hand, if only our opponents would hear the complaints of the churches and godly minds. Our opponents courageously guard their own dignities and wealth while neglecting the condition of the churches. They take no care for the churches to be rightly taught, and the Sacraments duly administered. They admit all sorts to the priesthood without discrimination. Then they impose intolerable burdens on them, as though they were delighted with the destruction of their fellowmen. They demand that their traditions be observed far more accurately than the Gospel.
Pulling It Together: If our righteousness must exceed that of religious experts, then what are we to do? We are to understand what righteousness actually is. Righteousness is not the fruit of good deeds or even correct doctrine, dogma, or traditions. Righteousness is being properly related to Jesus. If Jesus considers us his friends (John 15:15), we are righteous indeed. We cannot earn righteousness; it is given to us. We are made right with God because of being rightly related to Jesus through faith. This is the good news of peace and reconciliation that sinners—especially self-righteous sinners—need to hear.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for calling believers your friends. Amen.
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