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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 24

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1 Peter 3:13–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

Many hope to find justification in the traditions, that they will soothe their consciences, yet can not find any sure measure by which to free themselves from these chains. When Alexander could not untie the Gordian knot, he cut it with his sword. Just so, the apostles freed consciences once and for all, especially from the idea that traditions merit justification. The apostles compel us with doctrine and example to oppose such ideas, teaching that traditions do not justify, are unnecessary for justification, and that no one should create or receive traditions with the belief that they merit justification.

Pulling It Together: Do you have hope? If so, what is the reason for your hope? The Apostle Peter says that we should be ready to give a reliable reason for the hope that is in us. That sounds like the hope within us all is the same hope, not something that each of us accomplishes in a variety of ways. At any rate, we have already established here that no one has a good conscience because of the things they do. Quite the opposite is the case. So, since one’s hope of salvation needs a good conscience, how may these be possessed? How may someone have hope and a good conscience, if they cannot be had by things done? Hope and a good conscience may only be apprehended by faith in Christ. If you believe that God’s grace comes to sinners through Christ alone, then you can have a certain hope—and a good conscience. For you have now apprehended the truth, that your personal holiness, religious devotion, and good works are not what make the crucial difference. “Christ in you” is your only “hope of glory” (Col 1:27). 

Prayer: I honor you, Lord Jesus, as the one who is holy in my life. Amen. 

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