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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 201

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From the Word: And Isaac dug again the wells of water that they had dug in the days of Abraham his father. The Philistines had filled them after the death of Abraham. And he called them by the names that his father had named them. (Genesis 26:18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

“The Means of Baptism”

How can water do such great things?

It is not the water that does these things, but the Word of God connected with the water and our faith which relies on that Word. For without the Word of God it is simply water and not Baptism. But when connected with the Word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit.

As Saint Paul says to Titus: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy.” (Titus 3:5-8a)

Pulling It Together: Jesus confirms that we are all sinners (John 8:7). Who of us does not sin daily? Day after day, our sins can pile up in our memories. If we are not careful to seek the Father’s forgiveness and remember the promises of Baptism daily, the devil may slowly stop up the well. The water remains. The promise remains. But we need to dig down to the source again by asking forgiveness and remembering that God is good on his word. It is not the hard labor of Isaac, but instead, an easy word of contrition. It is a request born of trust, for God is faithful to forgive repentant sinners.

Prayer: I ask again today, Lord, that you would forgive me, a sinner who fears you, but loves and trusts you too. Amen.

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Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. 

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