From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Monastic Vows
In the histories of the hermits there are examples of Anthony and others which describe various vocations in life as equal. It is written that when Anthony asked God to show him the progress he was making in his kind of life, God showed him in a dream a certain shoemaker in the city of Alexandria to whom he should be compared. The next day Anthony went into the city and arrived at the shoemaker so that he might learn of his exercises and gifts. Having conversed with the man, Anthony heard nothing except that early in the morning the shoemaker prayed in a few words for the entire state, and then attended to his trade. This is how Anthony learned that justification is not to be attributed to the kind of life that one undertakes.
Pulling It Together
We are not justified before God because of a particular lifestyle, no matter how holy or special it may seem. God is able to make a child holy while that child, as yet, has no occupation. To think of one’s particular way of life as more holy than another is conceited. And how can conceit lead to holiness? Even more, to imagine that the things you do are what make you holy is robbery from God, who humbled himself so much as to become a man in order to save us. To think that we do this, steals from Christ the glory due him. This or that way of life life does not make one holy, nor do the things we do that are possible in a particular vocation. We are only made holy by God through faith in Christ.
Prayer: Spirit of God, give me the mind of Christ. Amen.
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