From the Word: 9 Then came one of the seven angels who had taken hold of the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues. And he spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he transported me in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the consecrated city Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Its luminance was like a precious gem, as jasper, shining like crystal. (Revelation 21:9–11)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.)
Additionally, you have the promise that you will prosper and fare well in all good. How can you lead a more blessed or a holier life as far as your works are concerned? For in the sight of God, faith is what really makes a person holy. Faith alone serves God, but our works serve people.
Pulling It Together: Would you do things to brighten your standing with God? Then you would simply shine with your own dim, human qualities. The Christian, however, reflects a divine glory; it is God at work within us that stands us up before him like lampstands (Rev 1:12), glowing with a light not our own (Matt 5:14–16).
Instead, you should do your good works for others, for your neighbor. Do your holy, neighborly work first in the home, then outside of it. These are the folks who need your shining deeds. As Luther said, “God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does.”
Prayer: Cause your church to shine, Lord. Amen.
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Living Faith, a Believer's Guide to Growing in Christ is a discipleship resource based on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. This 12-part Bible study by Pastor Brack East is designed to help individuals grow more deeply into a living faith in Jesus, while interacting with other believers in a life-to-life setting of three or four people. Such settings around the Word of God have proven to be part of the workshop of the Holy Spirit, and Luther’s Small Catechism has stood the test of time as a reliable guide to growing in faith.