I must admit it’s been refreshing to go back to Luther’s Catechism after many, many years and go through it systematically.
In fact, it’s probably been since I went through catechism and confirmation that I’ve done so. Sure, I’ve pulled it off the shelf every now in the past (cough) 30 years when I wanted a quick answer to something, but it seems to function best as a guide that should be gone through on a regular basis. A pastor once told me that Luther had intended his catechism to be carried around in a pocket and read throughout the day when spare moments presented themselves. I’m not there yet, but the step closer to that which I’ve taken over the last several days has proven beneficial for sure. This past week, I’ve been going through the section about God’s law (starting on page 33 if you’ve picked up the new version).
The questions (and the corresponding, scriptural answers and references) address how God delivers his law, to whom he delivers it, and to what end or purpose. As Lutherans we have been steeped in the message of free grace and, hopefully, can readily answer these questions about the law and how it relates to salvation. Still, it’s easy -- at least for me -- to get caught up in the old trap of wondering if I am “good enough” for God on any given day. I often fall asleep -- even after talking with God and thanking him for his love and forgiveness -- going over the day’s events and cringing with guilt over the sins I committed.
Wow -- how quickly do I forget his mercies and use the law for what it is not intended to be used for! Luther does a great job of laying out the purpose of the law and its proper use as a mirror, a guide, and as a big billboard reminding me of my need for Christ. This particular section of the Catechism is something I could stand to re-read on a regular basis for sure. I’m looking forward to the rest of the book, but I will undoubtedly return to this part as a reminder of how God intends us to view his law.