From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Monastic Vows
It is evident, therefore, that they wickedly distort Christ’s word by applying it to a monastic life, unless perhaps, the declaration that they “receive a hundredfold in this life” applies here. For many do not become monks for the sake of Gospel, but for sumptuous living and idleness, having ample riches instead of slender patrimonies. Just as the entire subject of monasticism is full of shams, they quote Scripture under false pretense. As a consequence, they sin doubly, deceiving people, and doing so under the pretext of the divine name.
Pulling It Together
I have known people who refused to work on Sunday. Some employers understood; others did not. I heard of one man who would not work on the Lord’s Day and as a result, lost his job. If your confession of the Gospel, whatever shape it may take, causes you loss of income or property, the Lord promises to more greatly supply your need in this life and bless you with eternal life as well. If following Jesus means family is left behind because they will not go where Jesus goes, our Lord promises to replace those with better relationships.
This is a plain understanding of Scripture. Now, if there are poor among us, let the Church care for them. But let us not consider those who receive these material gifts as acquiring that which merits forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. These things can not be acquired by a monastic lifestyle because they are the free gift of God received through faith.
Prayer: Give me the fortitude, Lord, and the spirit to follow you. Amen.
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