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1 John 4:15–17
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
“For the LORD will...be wroth...to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work!” (Isa 28:21). He calls it the strange work of the Lord when God terrifies, because to quicken and console is God’s own work. But God terrifies, he says, for this reason, namely, that there may be a place for consolation and quickening, because hearts that are secure and do not feel the wrath of God, loathe consolation. In this manner Scripture is accustomed to join these two, the terrors and the consolation, in order to teach that in repentance there are these chief members, contrition and faith, that console and justify. We do not see how the nature of repentance can be presented more clearly and simply.
Pulling It Together: How strange it must seem to a child, for the parent who loves to also seem so angry. For the threat of an oncoming car does not concern the unknowing child who is chasing a ball into the street. But the parent’s yelling terrifies the child. How could my dad be so upset with me? I’m just playing. Yet we easily see from a mature perspective that mothers and fathers were not angry but instead, very loving when they yelled at their children. Their “wrath” was meant to keep children from tragedy. Afterward, children enjoy their parents’ love, even when they have done something wrong, for they have become accustomed to forgiveness. They have faith in this strange love that yells and then consoles.
Prayer: Help me, O Father, to cling with faith to your love. Amen.
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Dwell In My Love! - Word of Life Series (Unit 3) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.