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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Distinction of Meats, Part 2

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Matthew 15:1–9

From the Confessions: The Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Distinction of Meats

Secondly, these traditions have obscured the commandments of God, because they have been placed far above God's commands. Christianity has come to be wholly considered as people having a spiritual and perfect life through the correct observances of certain holy days, rites, fasts, and liturgical clothing. Meanwhile the commandments and callings of God are without honor: that the mother bears and looks after her children, that the father provides for and rightly raises them, that the prince governs the commonwealth. These are considered worldly and imperfect works, far below those glittering traditions. This error greatly torments devout consciences which are grieved that they are held in an imperfect state of life like marriage, the office of magistrate, or other civil work. On the other hand, they esteem the monks and their kind, falsely imagining that the traditions of such men are more acceptable to God.

Pulling It Together

The kingdom of God is not in the doing of things but in believing what has been done. There is nothing wrong, of course, with following God's law and keeping his commandments. Christians keep God's commands but they do not believe that religious acts elicit God's mercy. God loves us with a perfect love. It is not something that we arouse in him. He is love (1 John 4:8), therefore he loves us. The reason that we love him and each other is because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). There is nothing that we can do to make him love us more or less. So Lutherans confess that traditions of the Church ought not to be our focus, nor should we esteem those who keep those traditions as better than other Christians. Instead, we are to faithfully and thankfully attend to the callings to which God has called each of us, and believe that we are doing the highest good in raising families and looking to the needs of others. Still, these are not the things that save but instead, they are the responses of people who believe that, because of God's great love, they are saved by faith in Christ alone.

Prayer: Lord, help me fulfill my calling in life for your sake. Amen. 

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