From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Church – part 27
The adversaries say that universal traditions are to be observed because they are supposed to have been handed down by the apostles. What religious men they are! They wish to retain apostolic rites but they do not wish to keep apostolic doctrine. These rites must be judged just as the apostles judged in their writings. For the apostles did not wish us to believe that we are justified through such rites, that such rites are necessary for righteousness before God. The apostles did not want to impose such a burden upon consciences, nor to associate righteousness and sin with the observance of days, food, and the like.
Pulling It Together
If others wish to abstain from certain foods on certain days, that is between those people and the Lord. Do not let them convince you that abstinence is a matter of righteousness. If a congregation thinks that they must celebrate The Feast of the Confession of St. Peter, pray that their observance is blessed. But do not consider for even a moment that every church must celebrate that day in order for its members to be reconciled to God. If your congregation has decided to read the Holy Gospel from the center of the sanctuary on the Lord’s Day, rejoice as you do so that Christ is in your midst. But do not imagine that justification depends upon all churches reading the Gospel in that manner. Rituals can be helpful to some but a millstone to others. If these externals are championed as essential acts in appeasing God, then the internal or spiritual gift of God is diminished among us. Grace is often lost through religion.
Prayer: Help me to pursue what makes for peace and for building up your people, Lord. Amen.
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