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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Monastic Vows, Part 10

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James 1:1–4

From the Confessions: The Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows

There are examples recorded of men forsaking marriage and the administration of the Commonwealth by hiding themselves in monasteries. They call this fleeing from the world to seek a kind of life more pleasing to God. They did not understand that God should to be served by obeying commandments that God has given instead of commandments invented by people. The good and perfect kind of life is one that is commanded by God. It is necessary to warn men about these things.

In earlier times, Gerson rebuked the error of the monks concerning perfection. He declared that it was a new assertion in his day to claim that the monastic life was a state of perfection.

There are many ungodly opinions inherent in the vows, namely, that they justify, that they constitute Christian perfection, that they keep the counsels and commandments, that they have works of supererogation. Since they are false and empty, monastic vows are null and void.

Pulling It Together

God's will is that we would perform our normal duties of life faithfully and sincerely. In other words, we must not run from life, hoping that a deal we make with God will somehow make us perfect. The love of God is perfected in us by keeping the word, by keeping the faith, by steadfastly believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 2:5). Christians do not fear damnation, and therefore have no reason to flee our responsibilities. We may continue being parents, teachers, government officials, or any other calling of life without fear of judgment. Though these good vocations come with all the trials inherent to life, we are to remain steadfast, believing that God has called us to faithfulness, despite these trials. We are not called to perform any extra works that promise perfection and grace. These are empty promises. For all who call on the name of the Lord, despite our situations in life, will be saved (Rom 10:13) .

Prayer: Lord, help me consider trials a joy because they cause me to turn to you instead of fleeing from life. Amen. 

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