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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 185

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From the Word: If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door, and its desire is for you. But you must master it. (Genesis 4:7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from every type of evil — whether it affects our bodies or souls, property or reputation — and at last, when our hour of death comes, would grant us a blessed end to our earthly lives, and graciously take us from this world of sorrow to himself in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Sin is lurking in our doorways every day. Therefore, we must be certain it does not to rule over us. The idea here is not that Cain, and we too, somehow work hard enough to stop sinning. So long as we live in this flesh, we will struggle with sin. So, we must daily see it plunged beneath the waters of our baptisms. What does that mean but that we trust in God? We cannot trust in our power to conquer sin any more than Cain could, yet we must overcome nonetheless.

All Cain had to do was look to God. The testimony clearly states that what he did was look to himself instead. May we not fall into that trap. Look to God! That is the secret of the overcomer; she keeps looking to God. Even when a Christian sins, she must look to God. When we simply confess our sin—that we have not done well—then we have done well. Cain’s big sin was not the bringing of a meager offering; it was being angry with God and with his brother. He may have even been a little angry with himself, as we are upset with ourselves when we sin. But these responses look to self when we should be looking to God. Confess your sin to the Forgiver, and he will accept you. He will lift you up (James 4:10). In this way only, will you ever master your sin.

Prayer: Have mercy on me, O Lamb of God. Amen.

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A Discussion of Living Religions is a brief introduction to major world religions that takes a conversational approach as a group of friends talk together about what it is they believe. Each has a chance to speak for themselves about how they understand the fundamentals of reality and faith.

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