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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
Jonah also says, “Those who regard vanities abandon their own mercy” (Jonah 2:9, Vulgate). All confidence is vain, except confidence in mercy. Mercy delivers us; our own merits, our own efforts, do not. Accordingly, Daniel also prays, “For we do not present our supplications before thee on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of thy great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, give heed and act; delay not, for thy own sake, O my God, because thy city and thy people are called by thy name” (Dan 9:18-19). So Daniel teaches us to take hold of mercy when we pray, that is, to trust in God's mercy, not in our own merits before him.
Pulling It Together
The First Commandment teaches us that God is faithful to deliver his people. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exod 20:2). When we confess our sin, God may also be depended upon to bring us out of our bondage to sin (1 John 1:9). We either admit our condition or remain in subjugation. The Hebrews might have stayed behind; and we too may remain enslaved to sin. So, we confess that we are in bondage. Further, we confess that we cannot free ourselves. Just as the Hebrews could not escape from their Egyptian overlords without God’s help, we cannot free ourselves from our masters: sin and death.
As God delivered the Hebrews through the Red Sea, he brings us safely through the waters of baptism. They wandered in the wilderness and finally arrived in the promised land. We move through this life and at long last, arrive at the gates of heaven. All of this is accomplished because God has promised and, in his great mercy, keeps his covenant. We take hold of his promises by faith, not by the bitter labors of “heavy burdens” and “hard service” (Exod 1:14). When God’s people depend upon their hard work, they are enslaved. Yet, when they do not depend upon their own efforts, but trust in God to do the necessary work, they are liberated from their slavery to sin and death. They are freed to live in the new kingdom, and never again regard Egypt.
Prayer: Though my efforts are unworthy, Lord, save me according to your great mercy. Amen.
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The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.
The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.