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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 4

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From the Word: 14 For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory, he may cause you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward being, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that being rooted and grounded in love, 18 you are able to grasp with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14–19)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

We do not have trivial reasons for dealing with the Catechism so constantly, and for desiring and urging others to teach it. For we see to our sorrow that many pastors and preachers are very negligent in this, and offend both their office and this teaching. Some do so because of great and high learning, giving their mind, as they imagine, to greater matters. But others are negligent out of sheer laziness and gluttony, assuming no other relation to this business than if they were pastors and preachers for the sake of their bellies, and had nothing to do but to live off the fat of others as long as they live, as they have been accustomed to do under the papacy.

Pulling It Together: What does it mean for Christ to dwell in our hearts through faith? It means that you have cast off all moorings to what you imagine brings security. You no longer depend upon those things; you trust in Christ alone. Do you suppose that your religious devotion or good works cause Christ to dwell within you? Is it because you can recite the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, and that you do so in church every Sunday, that the Lord lives within your innermost being? Is it because you took some classes for a few years and have been confirmed that you are strengthened by his Spirit?

The whole Christian life is confirmation. Living in the face of those things that might cause us to have faith, or depend, on other things — if only ourselves — we discover what we truly believe. Therefore, we deal with the Catechism daily, so that we may know what to believe, and that that we are strengthened by God’s Spirit to believe it deeply. Faith is not simply head knowledge; it is a substantial understanding of faith that God loves us through Christ Jesus. Real faith grounds us in the love of Christ. His love gives us sure footing, strength, courage, and conviction to believe in a love that would fill us with all the fullness of the divine.

Prayer: Fill me to the fullness of your Spirit, Lord; fill me with your love. Amen.

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