The Law is necessary to show us our sins, to curb our actions, and to guide our lives. The Law, however, cannot save us; only the Gospel can. The sinful flesh continually temps us to believe that God loves us because of who we are rather than in spite of who we are. Men came from Jerusalem and wanted the Galatians to believe that fulfilling the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament was a necessity for salvation. Paul shows us that not even Peter can change what God ordained: salvation is by grace.
As a testimony to the power of the Christ and the authority of his gospel, Paul cites the example of his own previous way of life. The power of the Christ raises the spiritually dead to spiritual life. Paul who once persecuted the church, was redeemed and raised from death to new life in Christ—a life of service to the saints in the Lord’s Kingdom work and life forever in heaven.
Paul pleads with the Galatians not to abandon the faith to which they have been called. Their faith is in the Lord who has rescued them from hell itself. How can they abandon the Gospel they have known? But in the midst of trial, know this: It is the Lord who brings salvation. We place the confidence of our hearts in him alone.
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK— Table of Duties—To Widows and To Everyone--When someone loses a spouse, what should they do? Whenever we lose any of God’s good gifts, the devil tempts us to fill the void with other things that not only can’t satisfy, but which may actually be sinful and a sign of mistrust of God. This is what the Scriptures refer to as “living for pleasure.” Instead, in the face of losses we are called to move even closer to Christ and His Word, putting our hope and confidence in the Lord who will fill the void of our lives with Himself. Attendance at Divine Service, catechesis, and the mutual conversation and consolation of Christian brothers and sisters is critically important. This leads us to the last section of the Table of Duties:
To Everyone: It is our common faith in Christ and the grace of God that unites us in love for one another, even as Christ loved us. The source of true fulfillment is not in living for one’s self, but in giving of ourselves to one another out of our love for Christ.
Luther's Small Catechism
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