CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE FIRST ARTICLE OF THE APOSTLES' CREED -- “All that I am and all that I have comes from God. Apart from Him I am and have nothing.” These assertions are central to the Christian teaching concerning God. They declare that we, and all of creation, are completely dependent upon Him. Even when we abuse the life and gifts that He has given, we do so by His power in us. This is what makes such evil all the more blasphemous! Martin Luther’s Creedal Hymn confesses both our dependence upon God and His love for us that motivates Him to create, provide, protect, and defend us. “We all believe in one true God, Who created earth and heaven, The Father, who to us in love Has the right of children given. He in soul and body feeds us; All we need His hand provides us; Through all snares and perils leads us, Watching that no harm betide us. He cares for us by day and night; All things are governed by His might.” The Catechism helps us to understand that what He has made and given is ALWAYS good, even if our sinful human reason might not think so and might even rebel against such gifts. There is great freedom in the gift of faith that accepts the truths of the First Article. All Christians, the deaf, the blind, and the lame, still confess that God has made them, including their “eyes, ears, and all their members,” even if they don’t work the way they want them to work. God’s created gifts are given AS THEY ARE, that we might learn to trust in Him through these gifts, extolling Him alone as God and relying upon His grace in our weakness.
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE NINTH AND TENTH COMMANDMENTS --"You shall not covet." -- The Ninth and Tenth Commandments both speak of covetousness. Covetousness is the desire of our hearts that insists upon having those things that God has not given to us. Many of the things that we might desire are very good things indeed. “Food, drink, clothing, shoes … a devout husband or wife, devout children,” etc. are all good things and good gifts from God. Sometimes, however, through our own sin or through the Lord’s gracious providence we are not allowed to have certain good things that we might otherwise desire and that might make life easier. Desires for good things become covetous and idolatrous whenever we won’t take no for an answer, whenever we insist that we must have this or that we must have that in order to be happy and content. At the center of the Christian faith, which trusts Christ for salvation, is learning to be satisfied with Him—with His love, with His forgiveness, with His Word, with everything that He is as our Savior and God. True contentment actually comes not from getting what we want and what we believe we must have, but from the faith that rests in Christ and is content with Him especially under the cross of suffering and affliction. When we have Christ and His love as our one thing needful, then His Word transforms our lives turning us outside of ourselves and our own desires to the sacrifices of love for others.
Luther's Small Catechism
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