There is a tendency by some people to admire the self-denying practices in Eastern religions. Even among some Christians such pietistic practices overshadow our need for daily repentance the importance of our reconciliation to God by the atonement of Jesus Christ. God word directs us, "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."
Many heretics misunderstand the Law of Moses and have treated marriage with contempt. Yet they admire celibacy very much. They refrained from wine even in the Lord's Supper. They refrained from eating the flesh of all animals. They refrained also from marriage, and this in particular gained the chief admiration. They thought that these works and services merited grace. To them those things appeared to be profane and unclean and could scarcely please God, even though they were not condemned.
In Colossians 2:18, Paul greatly disapproves these angelic forms of worship. For when people believe that they are pure and righteous because of such hypocrisy, they hinder the knowledge of Christ and the knowledge of God's gifts and commandments. God wishes us to use His gifts in a godly way. We might mention examples where certain godly consciences were greatly disturbed because of the lawful use of marriage. This evil was taken from the opinions of monks superstitiously praising celibacy. Yet, we do not find fault with self-control or chastity. We have said before that spiritual exercises and putting the flesh to death are necessary. Certainly we deny that confidence should be placed in certain ceremonies, as though they made one righteous. Certain rites were set up for instructing the ignorant, and not as services that justify. (paragraphs 45-49)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.