From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Monastic Vows
Now hear the unworthy declaration our judges have recorded in the Confutation. Here is what they said. “It has been expressly declared in the Holy Scriptures that the monastic life merits eternal life if maintained by a due observance, which by the grace of God any monk can maintain. Indeed, Christ has promised this as much more abundant to those who have left home or brothers, etc.” (Matt 19:29). With these words our opponents first, most impudently claim that the Holy Scriptures state that a monastic life merits eternal life. Where do the Sacred Scriptures speak of a monastic life? This is the way our opponents plead their case, and how men of no account quote the Scriptures. Though everyone knows that the monastic life has only recently been devised, they still cite the authority of Scripture, and further add that their decree has been expressly declared in the Scriptures.
Pulling It Together
Does Jesus mean that dishonoring parents and dismissing the fourth commandment are of such great virtue that they merit eternal life? How absurd. Rather, the cited verse (Matt 19:29) shows us that, if family would ostracize us for Christ’s “name’s sake,” in other words, because of the Christian faith, then God will reward us for staying true to the gospel. The sacrifice of leaving behind family, friends, co-workers, or anyone because they insist we leave Christ, is a cost every Christian must consider. All Christians, in this sense, are called to renounce or leave everything they have and follow Jesus. We must follow Christ, no matter the cost (Luke 14:25–33).
Prayer: Give me the strength, Lord, and the courage to follow you. Amen.
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