From the Word: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavens, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and unblemished before him. 5 In love, he bound us for adoption into himself through Jesus Christ, according to the good intention of his will, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he conferred on us in the Beloved. 7 In him, we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his grace 8 which he showered upon us in all wisdom and discernment, 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good will which he displayed in him 10 as a design for the fullness of time, to hold together all things in him—the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth. (Ephesians 1:3–10)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.)
The heart, then, should leap and melt for joy when going to work and keeping the commandments, saying, “Lo, this is better than all holiness of the Carthusians, even though they kill themselves fasting and praying upon their knees without ceasing.” For here, you have a sure text and a divine testimony that God has commanded this; but concerning the other, he has not commanded a word. Because the devil has greatly deceived us with a false holiness about the glamour of our own works, it is the plight and miserable blindness of the world that no one believes these things.
Pulling It Together: We are the workmanship of God, and have been created in Christ for good works (Eph 2:10). Though God’s grace saves us through faith in Christ Jesus, we are nonetheless, expected to bear fruit, to do good works, to honor the Father’s will, to keep the commandments, and so forth. There is much confusion in this area, some thinking that we must do good works in order to be saved, while others vainly imagine that we do not have to do them at all. In fact, God commands us to do good works, and we honor his will in doing so. These deeds do not save us (Eph 2:8–9) but are instead, evidence of his favor, a gift already determined and imparted through Christ. Parents teach their children well when they instruct them to obey the commandments of the Father who has chosen us to be adopted into his holy family.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all of the heavenly blessings you have given us in Christ Jesus, your Son. Amen.
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A primer (pronounced PRIH-mur) is a small introductory book on a subject, often for beginners. Primers were once a standard part of every child’s education. Typically, they contained many quotations from the Bible and moral lessons as well, and the text was accompanied by numerous woodcut illustrations. This primer on marriage, by Pastor Wendy Berthelsen, contains color, woodcut initials throughout, and serves as a nice devotional resource.
A Marriage Primer may be handed out by congregations to couples preparing for marriage, or as a gift to go along with presenting a marriage certificate. For individuals, it would also make a good small gift for a wedding or shower.