A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series November 1, 2010 - All Saints'
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the First Reading, Revelation 7:9-17; Epistle, 1 John 3:1-3; Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12 for the All Saints', November 1, 2010.
It is from Small & Large Catechisms, Part IV.
Who are All Saints and what makes them all saints? They are the "144,000" of Revelation 7; the "God's children of 1 John 3; the "Blessed" of Matthew 5—made so by Baptism into Christ and The One True Faith.
LUTHER'S SMALL CATECHISM: As the Head of the Family Should Teach It in a Simple Way to His Household THIRD -- How can water do such great things? It is not the water indeed that does them, but the Word of God, which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts this Word of God in the water. . . .
LUTHER'S LARGE CATECHISM: 23 In the second place, since we know now what Baptism is and how it is to be regarded, we must also learn why and for what purpose it is instituted. We must learn what it profits, gives, and works. For this also we cannot find a better resource than Christ's words quoted above, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" [Mark 16:16]. 24 Therefore, state it most simply in this way: the power, work, profit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is this—to save [1 Peter 3:21]. For no one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words say, that he "be saved." 25 We know that to be saved is nothing other than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil [Colossians 1:13-14]. It means to enter into Christ's kingdom [John 3:5], and to live with Him forever. 26 Here you see again how highly and preciously we should value Baptism, because in it we receive such an unspeakable treasure. This also proves that it cannot be ordinary, mere water. For mere water could not do such a thing. But the Word does it and, as I said above, so does the fact that God's name is included in Baptism. 27 Where God's name is, there must also be life and salvation [Psalm 54:1]. So Baptism may certainly be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water. Such power is given to Baptism by the Word that it is a washing of new birth, as St. Paul also calls it in Titus 3:5. 28 Our would-be wise, "new spirits" assert that faith alone saves, and that works and outward things do nothing. We answer, "It is true, indeed, that nothing in us is of any use but faith, as we shall hear still further." 29 But these blind guides are unwilling to see this: faith must have something that it believes, that is, of which it takes hold [2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 1:9] and upon which it stands and rests [1 Corinthians 2:5]. So faith clings to the water and believes that in Baptism, there is pure salvation and life.
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen