From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Marriage of Priests
Finally, if they understand celibacy as purity in the sense that it merits justification more than does marriage, we most emphatically disagree. For we are not justified on account of virginity or on account of marriage, but freely for Christ’s sake, when we believe that God is gracious to us for his sake.
Pulling It Together
Whenever some religious notion enters our heads, making us imagine that we must do one thing or another in order to earn God’s grace, we may confidently declare that thing to be false. It is not that the thing should not be done; rather, it is that the thing does not save. For example, if you think that you should pray the hours, then by all means, pray! Yet, do not think for a second that your prayers make you right with God. Christ alone makes you right with God. If you want to fast on a certain day of the week, do so with God’s blessing. But do not imagine that your discipline merits justification with God. Christ alone justifies. If you feel led to be celibate, do so joyfully but do not hope that your celibacy gains you any righteousness beyond the righteousness that you freely receive from God because you believe in the righteousness of Christ.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving me access to the hope of God’s grace through faith. Amen.
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