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From the Word: 24 As for you, let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you will also abide in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he promised to us: the life eternal. (1 John 2:24–25)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction
Therefore, I beg these lazy paunches, such presumptuous saints, to be persuaded and believe for God’s sake that they are very truly not so learned or such great doctors as they imagine. They are never to presume that they have finished learning the parts of the Catechism, or know it well enough in all details, even though they think that they know it ever so well. Even if they knew and understood it perfectly (which is impossible in this life), if they read it, meditated upon it, and spoke about it every day, there are many fruitful benefits still to be obtained. The Holy Spirit is present in such reading, meditation, and conversation, granting ever new and more light and piety, so that we enjoy and appreciate it better every day. For Christ has promised this: “For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20).
Pulling It Together: What goes for the pastors and theologians, goes, of course, for the whole church. None of us should presume that we have learned the Catechism, the basics of the Christian faith. The best that much of the church ever does, is recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed on the Lord’s Day. Never mind the Ten Commandments or a deeper appreciation for the Sacraments.
This, though, is largely the fault of pastors. Pastors must find ways to weave the various parts of the Catechism into the whole fabric of the church. What if announcements (God forbid that we should neglect such an important feature of worship!) were concluded with the congregation reciting the Ten Commandments? What would happen to the people if the sermon spoke to the assorted allusions to the Catechism in each of the readings for the day?
Then, if the people would only talk about it all, instead of just going to lunch and a nap, what would happen to the church? It almost seems like we do not want Christ among us. For, if we did want him present, we would converse about such things, and pray together. And we would do it often, and in our homes, instead of waiting for the next Sunday to roll around. Every time we did these things, Christ Jesus would be present, and his Spirit would give us new life and greater faith as we remembered together the things that we heard at the beginning of faith.
Prayer: Help me remember and appreciate, Lord Jesus, the basics of faith in you. Amen.
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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.