One thing you’ll hear Lutherans talk about a lot: rightly distinguishing Law and Gospel. But what does this mean and why does it matter? Is it really that big a deal? Um…yes! It’s actually a matter of life and death!
New Lutherans go through some difficult phases coming from American Evangelicalism. The first phase is accepting that this is more than a mere symbol. The second phase is figuring out how to tell their families they can no longer commune together. The joy of being united under their new confession is tempered by the division it has caused in their family.
In our Western context baptism is a work. An ordinance. Something we do out of obedience alone, but which works nothing in us. An outward sign of an inward commitment. And because we are good Lutherans, what do we do? Get triggered! “It’s not a symbol, it saves! It’s not our work, it’s God’s work! It’s not obedience, it’s grace!” But there’s another way to engage…without being triggered.
As we look at the remaining petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, it seems like we are presenting God with a list of demands! But last week we talked about God’s will being done…and NOT ours. So what gives? How do we understand prayer rightly when asking God for things?
Do we really know what prayer is? Is it a conversation with God? Is it manipulating God to our will? Or is it a futile gesture that is nothing more than virtue signaling in a crisis? We begin our look at the Lord’s Prayer with these questions.
“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” Words of genius? Words of insanity? Maybe both?
We’ve learned that we cannot keep the 10 Commandments, no matter how we try. Thus we need the Creed to tell us where to look! Tonight we look at the first two parts of the Apostle’s Creed – God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. Everything we believe is related to the three persons of the Trinity, so let’s study well!
In the same way that breaking each commandment is breaking the first, breaking each commandment also breaks the last one. Our love of ourselves really comes home to roost tonight as we finish up the Ten Commandments and cover 7-10 all in one episode.
Tonight we have a very special roundtable discussion on the Law. What is it? What is it not? How does it function? How do we rightly distinguish it? What happens when we get it wrong? What happens when we get it…right?
We think it’s simple to love our neighbor. Or to at least make a decent attempt at it. But if we are honest, what we really love is ourselves! This week we talk about the 4th, 5th and 6th Commandments and what Luther and the Scriptures have to say about them.