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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 136

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From the Word: 1 I charge you in the company of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1–2)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: The Father has appointed Christ alone to judge the world—both the living and all who ever lived. Christ must be the judge of the living and the dead because he is the only one appropriate to the task. He alone has lived the life by which all are to be judged. His holiness is the bar by which all will be evaluated. More should be preached along these lines; it should not be left to a sentence in the middle of the Creed.

It is worth noting that Scripture emphasizes preaching when it states that Christ is “judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1–2). This is notable because it is through preaching that the deeply wounding blow of the previous paragraph is relieved. For if we are to be judged on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, who will be spared in the judgment to come?

Through the process of patient preaching and teaching—using accusation, reproach, and encouragement—we are led from the fear of hell to the fear of God. We come to love and trust him with our life, and death, and eternity. For we believe that, by God’s grace, we will not only be judged by the measure of Christ’s righteousness but also be given his righteousness as our own (Rom 3:22).

Prayer: Amen. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. 

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Sola's Sunday Schoolhouse materials for Year A include reproducible sheets of Bible lessons, pictures, dramas, worksheets, and a Christmas program. It has four units of seven sessions each: two on stories from the Old Testament and two on stories from the New Testament. 

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