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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 79

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From the Word: If anyone’s will is to do his will, he will know whether the teaching is of God, or that I speak from myself. (John 7:17)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Because using the holy name for falsehood or wickedness is forbidden here, it is a natural inference, on the other hand, that we are commanded to employ it for truth and for all good, as when one swears truly when there is need and demand. This is also the case when there is right teaching, and when the Name is invoked in trouble, or praised and thanked in prosperity, etc. We comprehend all of this summarily in the directive: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me (Psa 50:15 RSV). All of this uses his name in the service of truth, employing it in a devout manner. Thus, God’s name is hallowed, as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer.

Pulling It Together: Jesus uses the Name in a doubly devout manner. Not only does he teach what his Father sent him to teach, he gives God the credit too. Jesus’ teaching depended on the reputation of the one who sent him. We are enabled to believe right teaching, Christ's word, when the Spirit gives us the faith to do so. Because true faith is based in the divine word alone, the Father’s will is done. It is accomplished when we believe based upon his name, his reputation. This faith, itself given by God, “holies” the Name. The highest and best use of the Name is to believe him.

Prayer: Give me such faith, O Lord, that I may believe in you. Amen.

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The Letters of Paul looks at all but one of Paul's thirteen epistles and seeks to get at the heart of each one so that his message can inspire new hope, faith, and love in us today.


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