From the Word: So then, it does not depend upon the will, nor striving, but on God who has mercy. (Romans 9:16)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods before me.
Behold, here you have the meaning of true honor and worship of God, that which pleases God, and which he commands under penalty of eternal wrath, specifically, that the heart knows no other comfort or confidence than him. It does not allow itself to be torn from him, but for him, risks and disregards everything upon earth. On the other hand, you can easily see how the world practices only false worship and idolatry. There has never been a people so degenerate that they have not established and observed some religion. Each has propped up a god from whom to expect blessings, help, and comfort.
Pulling It Together: You may be certain that God will abandon the one who trusts in himself — to himself. If a person takes pleasure in his own striving, if he finds consolation in his devotion, if he is confident in anyone but God, he will discover himself undone. God does not suffer spiritual pride, for this is nothing else than to prop oneself up as an idol over the only true God. Luther wrote, “He withdraws his power from them and lets them puff themselves up in their own power alone. For where man’s strength begins, God’s strength ends. When their bubble is full-blown, and everyone supposes them to have won and overcome, and they themselves feel smug in their achievement, then God pricks the bubble, and it is all over. The poor dupes do not know that even while they are puffing themselves up and growing strong they are forsaken by God (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 21: The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 21. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999. p 340.).
Prayer: Bless you, Father, for your great mercy toward sinners. Amen.
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Learning About Confession teaches the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. It is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.