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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

The Commandments and the Creed

"The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." ~ John 1:17

"From this you see that the Creed is a very different teaching that the Ten Commandments. For the latter teach us what we ought to do, but the Creed tells us what God has done for us and gives to us." ~ Martin Luther from his Large Catechism (The Book of Concord: The Confession of the Evangelical Lutheran Church; ed: Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert., 2000)

Finishing up the commandments and getting ready to move to the Apostles' Creed, but wanted to pause and take a look at what Luther says here.

The Commandments tell us what we ought to do and the Creed tells us what God has done.

And to that I'd add, who God is.

It is this give and take of Law and Gospel. For Lutherans, the law is that shows us that our sinfulness. That we fall short. That we miss the mark.

And it is the thing that then drives us to Christ and the cross, the Christ we acknowledge in the Creed.

We don't live by the Ten Commandments, even if we know we should. We mess up. We forget. We get caught up in our lives as we want them to be.

But then in the Creed we are able to remind ourselves that we have a God who is bigger than us: one we can count on and trust even when we aren't able to live up to the standards we've been given.

A Prayer by Martin Luther: Dearest God and Lord, strengthen and uphold us in your pure, precious Word through Jesus Christ our Lord, and help us to show and live our thanks with our fruits of faith to your praise and thanks forever. Amen.

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