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2 Timothy 4:7–8
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Monastic Vows
But then, the custom also had a particular purpose. Because they were foreigners, not Israelites, it seems their father wished to distinguish them by certain signs from their countrymen, so that they might not relapse into the ungodliness of their countrymen. By these, he wished to caution them of the teaching of faith and immortality. This is a lawful purpose. But far different purposes are taught in monasticism. They imagine that the works of monasticism are acts of worship that merit the forgiveness of sins and justification. Therefore, the example of the Rechabites is unlike monasticism. We omit here other evils presently inherent in monasticism.
Pulling It Together
We need all the help we can get. No one would deny this to be true. But if the help obscures Christ, it is not help; it is a great evil. Anything that hinders you keeping the faith is, at very least, a serious temptation. If it persists, it is dire. Keeping the faith does not mean that one has maintained certain traditions or a lifestyle. It means that faith has been kept in its proper place, that it is in Christ alone, not human practices and institutions. The crown we seek is not a reward for our accomplishments. It is a crown of righteousness—not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ that he gives us for having and keeping faith in him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I look to you to show me the lane to the finish line. Amen.
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