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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 66

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From the Word: 14 We know that we have crossed from death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love, continues in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no killer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love: that he laid down his life for us. So, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:13–16)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 66

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together: Be careful that you do not imagine yourself exempt from bothering with the Fifth Commandment. You may say that you have never murdered anyone. Think again. Have you ever been angry with your neighbor? Bear in mind that your neighbor is the whole world. Have you ever harbored anger with a politician, a workmate, a church Council member, family, anyone? Jesus says that if you are angry with your neighbor, you are answerable to divine judgment (Matt 5:22). Do not let the day end without being reconciled so that you give the devil no opportunity over your soul (Eph 4:26). For anger will consume you with murderous rage. You would think the world better off with that hated person dead. To think so is as bad as the deed. However, “you shall not kill.”

Prayer: Give me the strength and the courage, Lord, to love my neighbor. Amen.

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It is a vital task of the church today to encourage a renewed interest in and use of God’s Word. Unfortunately, many people find the Scriptures difficult to read and hard to understand at first. The purpose of Epistles, a Guide to Reading the Scriptures is twofold: to encourage Christians to read God’s Word on a regular basis and to help the reader slow down and concentrate on each chapter of the epistles before moving on to the next.

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