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From the Word: 8 To me, least of all saints, this grace was granted, to carry to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone what is the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. (Ephesians 3:8–9)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction
We do not have trivial reasons for dealing with the Catechism so constantly, and for desiring and urging others to teach it. For we see to our sorrow that many pastors and preachers are very negligent in this, and offend both their office and this teaching. Some do so because of great and high learning, giving their mind, as they imagine, to greater matters. But others are negligent out of sheer laziness and gluttony, assuming no other relation to this business than if they were pastors and preachers for the sake of their bellies, and had nothing to do but to live off the fat of others as long as they live, as they have been accustomed to do under the papacy.
Pulling It Together: Notice how the Catechism deals with both Law and Gospel. We see readily enough, how the Ten Commandments deal with God’s law, telling us what we must do and must not do. These are commands, or law. In the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Sacraments, we hear the word of grace, the Gospel. Yet, if we listen carefully to the First Commandment, we will also hear there the word of grace: I am the Lord, your God.
This is the mystery of the ages: he gives himself to us. God cannot be revealed through our searching, any more than he would reveal himself to us because of our good works. It is quite the opposite: God reveals himself to sinners (Rom 5:8). This is his plan, and it is encapsulated in the Catechism. The Ten Commandments make us despair of our attempts at being good, moral, or righteous. The Lord’s Prayer makes it clear that God gives us all good things, even our daily food. The Creed, tells us who God is and what he has done for us — and yet shall do. The Sacraments reinforce his graciousness, comforting us through the peace of his righteousness that has been assigned to us through faith in Christ.
All of this, of course, brings us back to the First Commandment, to the one who has done all this for us. He is the Lord: your God. No wonder we spend so much time in the Catechism. It directs us repeatedly, in the simplest way possible, back to God.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for revealing the mystery of yourself through your Son. Amen.
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The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.
The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.