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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 233

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From the Word: 18 …knowing that you were redeemed from the pointless conduct handed down from your fathers, not with perishable things, with silver or gold, 19 but with Christ’s precious blood, that of an unblemished and flawless lamb. (1 Peter 1:18–19)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

When is a person worthy to receive the Sacrament?

Fasting and other outward disciplines are indeed good preparation, but people are truly worthy and well prepared who believe these words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But those who do not believe these words or who doubt them are unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require truly believing hearts.

Pulling It Together: All of our religious devices will never set us free from sin and death. Prayer will not do it, nor will Bible reading, Sunday School, or going to church. Now, praying, studying the Scripture individually or in a group like Sunday School or another small group, as well as worship in larger groups are not pointless activities. Unless…

If the point of those activities is your redemption, then they are worse than futile; they are sanctimonious. Presuming that our devotion amounts to salvation from the devil’s clutches is audacious and disrespectful of Jesus, as though God needs to add your devotion to Christ’s body and blood. When you come to the table, put all of your devotion behind you. Think only of Christ and his benefits. Believe that he offered his body and shed his blood, not just for the world, but even “for you.”

Then, regardless of your acts of devotion, you are ready to eat the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and drink the cup of salvation (Psa 116:13).

Prayer: I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on your name, Lord. Amen.

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Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

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