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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 153

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From the Word: 15 Having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your love for all the saints, 16 for this reason, I do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your heart enlightened that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints… (Ephesians 1:15–18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Oh, the wonder of faith in Jesus Christ! It is faith in God that makes a saint, and saints make the church, which has the Lord Jesus Christ as her Head. This is reason for great thanksgiving to God—not merely the apostle’s gratitude but ours too. Let us give thanks to God for the church, that blessed communion of saints where he gives us faith to receive all of God’s blessings: forgiveness of sins, resurrection of body, everlasting life—and all else besides.

Prayer: Thank you, O Father of Glory, for the church of Christ. Amen.

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