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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 100

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From the Word: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an occasion for the flesh, but through love be servants to each other. (Galatians 5:13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not plot to take our neighbors’ possessions, inheritance, or home, or obtain them through deceptive means, but assist and serve our neighbors in keeping what is theirs.

Pulling It Together: The example of Christ instructs us to serve one another. Because of his love, alive within us through the Holy Spirit, we look for opportunities to care for our neighbors, instead of seeking a chance to steal their property. Indeed, the idea is so foreign to us, that we would not consider the idea of taking what is not ours. We understand—again, because of the Spirit of God who lives in us—that what we have is a gift from God. So, we do not plot to take another’s goods, knowing that we would be stealing God’s gift, which is tantamount to robbing God. Who would consider such a thing? More importantly, Christ’s love enjoins us to do better, to live at a higher level, to care for our neighbors as God cares for us.

Prayer: Show me my neighbor’s need, Father, and give me the means to meet it. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Saints and Sinners, Witnesses to the Faith, is the first in a three-volume series on saints and sinners in the New Testament who were powerful witnesses to faith in Christ. May this study of saints and sinners enrich your understanding of life with Christ and encourage you in discipleship.

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