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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 110

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From the Word: For physical exercise is a little useful, but godliness is beneficial for everything, having promise for this life and for that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together: Pointing toward my stomach, the doctor said that I needed to lose my little friend. I asked, “What, about 20 pounds.” She dryly replied, “More like 30 to 40.” I took her seriously, and began to work on a discipline of exercise and eating not only less food, but better food. I lost 25 pounds because I took the word of my doctor seriously.

If we were as serious about the word of God, the benefits would be of greater profit than weight loss and all that comes with it—less stress on joints and hips and back, clothes that fit better, and so on. God promises not only his grace but every blessing to everyone who keeps his commandments. While we are saved through faith in Christ, not by keeping commandments, there are nevertheless benefits in doing so. Obeying God brings both grace and blessings. Why would we ignore such beneficial counsel?

Prayer: Give me courage and strength, Lord God, to keep your commandments. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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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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