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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 111

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From the Word: 24 What a wretched person I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24–25)

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

We are saved from sin and death through faith in Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, sin is not a thing of the past; it is a present reality. Though we pray, “thy will be done,” and we know, even have memorized, the commandments, we cannot keep them. So, one may ask, what is the point?

On one level, the law provides discipline, a restraint against sin. Still, we do not keep the commandments perfectly. At this point, the law of God makes us aware of our sins, so that we may ask the Father to forgive us for Christ’s sake. Most importantly, the law makes us look beyond ourselves. Realizing our condition—that our very nature is corrupt and incapable of being good (Isa 64:6) or being justified with God by our own merits (Psa 143:2)—the sad awareness that the law brings, makes us look for help elsewhere. Thanks be to God that there is indeed help: in Jesus Christ alone.

Prayer: Help me to look to you, Lord Jesus, for forgiveness and peace. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Learning the Lord's Prayer teaches the Lord's Prayer according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Second Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story which illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version


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