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From the Word: 21 And you—once alienated and enemies in disposition, in evil deeds— 22 he has now reconciled in the body of his flesh through his death, to present you holy and unblemished and beyond recrimination before him, 23 if you continue in the faith, founded and steady, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which was heralded in all creation under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:21–23)
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Sixth Petition
And lead us not into temptation.
What does this mean?
God indeed tempts no one to sin, but we pray in this petition that God would guard and protect us from this, that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or lead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins, but pray that when we are tempted in these ways, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.
Pulling It Together: How are we to be protected from the devil, or from the world, or even from our own corrupt nature? Can we provide our own protection? Are we able to purchase it with our deeds or those of someone else with the same debased disposition? Can religion defend us from ourselves? It can be tempting to imagine such things. Yet, Christ has already settled the matter, making us holy children, unaccusable through his own work, through his death to our sin. Do not ever be tempted to believe in yourself, in your deeds. Keep believing in Christ. Do not be moved from the solid ground of faith in him. He alone is our hope. Cling to this glad news: the victory over sin and death, over the devil himself, has already been accomplished. It is secured for those who prevail in faith, who remain steady, founded upon the hope of the gospel.
Prayer: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! Amen.
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The Invitation Project is a congregational guide that describes how a parish can host an “invite-able” event, as part of a larger evangelism initiative, energizing God’s people for the mission of Christ. Using a practical step-by-step “how to” approach, provides guidance, organization, and ideas — not simply to promote a single program, but to develop and inspire the over-all outreach of the congregation.