From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Church
Paul clearly teaches this 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). Likewise, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, ‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’ (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement...” (Col 2:20-23).
Pulling It Together
How heartbreaking it would be to run in a race, and to run so swiftly that you won the race, only to find out that you had been disqualified because of a false start or a lane violation. Paul warns us to not let anyone disqualify us. This can happen when we comply with their insistence upon religious practices. We know that we should follow Jesus, not things, but we can be tricked all too easily. We can put our faith in having the right shoes, new running clothes, a different starting stance, another coach, some other track. Christians do not run with concern for such externals. Nor are we distracted by trying to be faster than those around us. We run the race (2 Tim 4:7) by keeping our eyes on Christ, “the finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2, KJV). Even when it seems like we are running without style, speed, or applause, we press on toward the prize (Phil 3:14). Christ himself is our victory that comes through faith—not through particular human practices, devotions, or ceremonies.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of faith. Amen.
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Winning, Losing, Loving: The Gospel in the Old Testament is an overview of Old Testament Scripture, tracing themes of chosenness, sin, and grace throughout the early books of the Bible. These cycles of sin and redemption point forward toward God's ultimate act of Redemption in Jesus Christ.