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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 170

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From the Word: And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time. (Luke 1:20)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: Our unbelief will not change the will of God. Everything he has resolved will come to pass in its season—whether we believe it will or not.

Sometimes we will not believe because God’s will seems too fantastic to us, as was the case with Zechariah. Other times, his will seems too harsh, and we refuse to believe. His will, now and then, seems too favorable toward us, and thinking we do not deserve God’s good will, we again, refuse to believe.

Nonetheless, God’s will is done, in spite of us. He does not rush to prove us wrong, but bides his time so that all things are accomplished in their season, including the span necessary to strengthen us in belief and to become steadfast in his Word and faith. In this way, we begin to desire his will be done in our earthly lives, even as it is done in heaven.

Prayer: Help, O Lord, my unbelief. Amen.

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Living Faith, a Believer's Guide to Growing in Christ is a discipleship resource based on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. This 12-part Bible study by Pastor Brack East is designed to help individuals grow more deeply into a living faith in Jesus, while interacting with other believers in a life-to-life setting of three or four people. Such settings around the Word of God have proven to be part of the workshop of the Holy Spirit, and Luther’s Small Catechism has stood the test of time as a reliable guide to growing in faith. 

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