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From the Word: Be vigilant, brothers, that there be in none of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to forsake the living God. (Hebrews 3:12)
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Seventh Petition
But deliver us from evil.
What does this mean?
We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from every type of evil — whether it affects our bodies or souls, property or reputation — and at last, when our hour of death comes, would grant us a blessed end to our earthly lives, and graciously take us from this world of sorrow to himself in heaven.
Pulling It Together: Is there anything more evil than the human heart? “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). The human heart is the source of floods. If we imagine postdiluvian people are different, better, than the mighty men of renown and the giants of old, we deceive ourselves. We too, are fallen just like the Nephilim. We remain dry only by the grace of God.
So we must stand at the watch over our hearts, asking the Father often each day to deliver us from the great evil that beats within us. Otherwise, through sloth or pride, we may fall away from the living God and be consigned to an eternal death. The only thing that keeps us from falling is a soft, believing heart. But faith requires vigilance. Do not abandon your watch, lest you forsake God in your negligence.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to continue with believing faith in you so that I may be with you forever. Amen.
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The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.