The Small Catechism
by Dr. Martin Luther
Martin Luther wrote the Small Catechism to instruct families in the basics of the Christian Faith. In his day, the average Christian knew very little about the person and work of Jesus Christ. In our day, the situation has become strikingly similar.
The Ten Commandments teach us the eternal will of God. The Law gives shape to the way we are to love God and to love our neighbor. Instead of trying to please God with the things that please us, the Lord has revealed what pleases Him. Because of our corrupted hearts, the Law gives to us the knowledge of our sins.
The Creed teaches us who God is. The Blessed Holy Trinity has created us, redeemed us, and sanctified us. The Gospel gives to us the knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ who died for our sins and was raised for our justification.
The Lord’s Prayer teaches us how to pray knowing that Christ is our Mediator. He prays with us to the Father.
As baptized believers, we have the promise of the gift of the remission of sins and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. Through the Gospel, the Holy Spirit is beginning to renew our hearts and minds to want and to will what God wants and wills. Through the Law, the Holy Spirit guides in newness of life.
As Christians, we are taught that although we are beginning to walk in newness of life, we still daily sin much and continually need forgiveness. Thus, we are instructed to confess our sins and receive the promise of life and salvation in the holy absolution.
As we walk through the wilderness of this wicked world, Christ promises to be present with us. He feeds us with His true body and true blood. He strengthens us in both our bodies and our souls. He continues to sustain us with the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
With the daily prayers from monastic life, Luther orders the Lutheran home with prayer in the morning, before meals, after meals, and in the evening.
Our God is a God of institutions. The Lord has instituted three estates, namely, the church, the home, and the state. He has set His creation in order. In this section, we learn that we are placed in different places to love our neighbor.