CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE CONCLUSION TO THE TEN COMMANDMENTS -- The first Commandment is behind all the commandments, and all the commandments are interconnected in the demand to love God above all things. The threat of the Law to punish anyone who turns away from God is visited upon Jesus in His death upon the cross. He was punished for the sin of the fathers in fulfillment of the law. Therefore, there is grace and mercy for us sinners, because Jesus “loved and trusted in God and gladly did what God demanded.” He did this even to the point of suffering the punishment that we sinners deserved. Death and condemnation is the result of turning away from God, the source of all life. The tablets of the Law that were hurled at the Jews from Mount Sinai show how all our righteousness is crushed under the scrutiny of God’s commandments. This is necessary. If we do not feel the crushing blow of the Law, we cannot receive the righteousness of Christ. Christ bore the crushing blow of the Law’s condemnation in His death. He willingly took our place, like a scapegoat, and suffered all that we by our sins deserved. Why did He do this? His love and desire to save us and give us life is at the heart of all that He does for us, even when the Law is proclaimed that crushes our self-righteousness and pride. This week’s Bible verse accents these themes, teaching us that “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in [God’s] sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
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Luther's Small Catechism
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