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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Ecclesiastical Power – part 10

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James 1:25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

Still, we have added in the Confession the extent to which they may legitimately make traditions, namely, not as necessary services, but so that there may be order in the Church, for the sake of peace. These traditions should not ensnare consciences, as though ordering necessary acts of worship. This is what Paul teaches when he says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1).

Pulling It Together: What right does anyone have to insist that we do certain things in order to be forgiven? Christ has set us free; so we are truly free (John 8:36). God does not tell us that certain sins cannot be forgiven or that our quantity of sins is too heavy, too grave to forgive. Nor does he tell us to get our acts together before he will forgive. So, we must be careful to not allow anyone to deceive us, taking our consciences captive to human traditions. The Gospel, that perfect, liberating law of God, declares that God freely forgives us for Christ’s sake. Believe and be at peace with God.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for love that is conditional on Christ alone. Amen.

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This six-session Bible study focuses on the Godly vocations of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, husband and wife, and also the parents of several children. The Luther Household includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

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