The Theme of Faith
Over the past week our class has been looking at the first three parts of the Catechism, the Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. As always, there’s ton of great stuff that I could talk about with this, but one of the greatest is the theme we see throughout the Lutheran Catechism.
A Change in the Catechism
Luther was, by no means, the first person to write a catechism. The earliest forms of the catechism date back to the first century. However, Luther, did do a few things a little different, at least different from the catechism of his day. One thing was the question and answer format. More significantly, however, was the focus on faith. It is the theme of the entire book.
The Theme of Faith
From the very beginning we see faith as the focus of our relationship with God. Even with the Commandments, it begins with “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust God above all other things. In the Large Catechism he goes on to talk about what it means to have a god. Basically, anything you trust for protection and everything good is your god. If you rely on money for that, then money is your god. But God says for us to trust Him for protection and all that is good. Have faith. With this commandment and the 9 that follow, not only do we see command to trust God, but we see that because we do not and cannot fully obey the commandments, they show our need for faith in Jesus Christ.
That is just what the Creed is about, the gift of faith. We profess the faith we have in God, which is a gift of God. As it says in 1 Corinthians 12, “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” Then we move on to the prayer of faith. In the Lord’s prayer we pray for faith (Thy Kingdom Come) and we pray in faith that God’s will be done and that He will provide for us, forgive us, and protect us.
“Nothing is so necessary as to call upon God incessantly and to drum into his ears our prayer that he may give, preserve, and increase in us faith” – Large Catechism
Next we look at the sacraments, the means of grace which God has given us to nourish our faith. Finally, we finish with the prayers and list of vocations. Along with the Commandments which tell us how to live a life of faith, the prayers and vocations are the exercise and practice of our faith.
Faith is the central theme around which the entire Lutheran Catechism was written. Why? Because, as Christians, faith is the focus of our lives. It is faith in Christ Jesus which saves us and it is that faith which we now live in day in and day out.
Image by Sharon.