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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 107

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From the Word: Who can say, “I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin”? (Proverbs 20:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

It does not matter how hard you try to be good; you are a sinner. You were born in sin, and as long as you are in this body, you will be a sinner; and you will sin. You should try to keep all of God’s commandments, but you will fail (Acts 15:10). For no one is able to say he is without sin.

The only answer is a life outside of this flesh: a new life. In the new life that God offers through Jesus Christ, the regenerated nature may delight in the law of God, even though the natural nature will inevitably sin (Rom 7:15–20). We are pitiful beings, but thanks be to God for the victory we have over sin, death, and the devil. This conquest is Christ’s doing, not ours. It is not an earned victory, but instead, given to us through faith. All we can do, while yet in this sinful nature, is continue turning to God, confessing our sins, and gratefully accepting his forgiveness.

There is no guilty verdict for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). Christians are conquerors because of their Commander, not because they are good soldiers, because of a gracious judge, not because they are guiltless.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, a sinner who loves you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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