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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 30

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Exodus 20:1–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

Keeping the Ten Commandments is not something that we must do in order to be saved. God does not forgive us because we keep the rules. The law cannot save; salvation has always come by God’s grace instead of human works. Forgiveness and eternal life come through faith in God’s loving grace. The fruit of this faith is love: a love that comes from God (1 John 4:7). The result of faith is love for God and love for neighbor. Through faith—fearing, loving, and trusting in God above all things—we begin to actually fulfill the law’s demands. We keep the law, however imperfectly. But we actually want to do so and are grieved when we do not. Still, the fulfillment of the law comes in loving God and neighbor (Rom 13:8–10). The commandments aim us at love, for without the love of God and neighbor, we are nothing (1 Cor 13:2). So, we see that loving God and neighborkeeping the Ten Commandments—is not the way of salvation, but instead, the way of those who have been saved through faith in God.

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to fulfill the law by loving you, and loving my neighbor. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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