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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 51

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From the Word: 12 ...rejoicing in hope, being patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, 13 sharing in the needs of the saints, pursuing hospitality. (Romans 12:12–13)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

This should be said to ordinary persons, that they may note well and remember the meaning of this commandment: We are to trust in God alone, looking to him and expecting nothing but good from him, since he gives us body, life, food, drink, nourishment, health, protection, peace, and all the necessities of both temporal and eternal things. He also preserves us from evil, delivering and rescuing us. It is God alone, as has been amply said, from whom we receive all good, and by whom we are delivered from all evil. I think this is why, since ancient times, we Germans have called God, more elegantly and appropriately than any other language, by that name derived from the word “good,” as he is an eternal fountain from which flows abundantly nothing but what is good, and is considered good.

Pulling It Together

Of course, the risk is that the First Commandment be turned into a business venture. If you just do this or that, it might be promoted, then God will give you whatever you desire. This does not expect from God all good, but instead, seeks to make him something he is not. God promises to care for our needs, as a good Father does, and even to deliver us from evil, as we often pray. But we would have him keep the evil from happening at all. We would have him do our bidding, those things that we want to be. If we carefully weigh the words, “to trust in God alone,” we would thank God that he is wiser than us. We would pray, “Thy will be done” in heaven and earth — and even in my life.  

Prayer: Give me the courage and fortitude, Lord God, to trust in you alone. Amen.

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Disciples of the Cross is a two-part Bible study addressing the topic of Christian discipleship from a uniquely Lutheran perspective. Part 1: Who We Are is an introduction to the theology of discipleship, laying the biblical groundwork for what it means to be called to live the life of faith as a follower of Jesus. Part 2: What We Do is an introduction to the practice of discipleship, using the Lord's Prayer to take us through key aspects of our life of faith as followers of Jesus.

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Mark Ryman

Posted August 7, 2020 at 7:03am

It is a natural assumption, and Luther made it the same as we do, that the word "god" comes from the word "good," or perhaps the reverse. "Popular etymology has long derived God from good; but a comparison of the forms...shows this to be an error. Moreover, the notion of goodness is not conspicuous in the heathen conception of deity, and in good itself the ethical sense is comparatively late" (Century Dictionary, 1897)

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