Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed."

Meanings

THE CREED

In the plain form in which the head of the family shall teach it to his household.

THE FIRST ARTICLE
of creation

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

Answer: I believe that God has created me and all that exists; that He has given and still  preserves to me my body and soul, my eyes and ears, and all my members,  my reason and all the powers of my soul, together with food and raiment, home and family, and all my property; that He daily provides abundantly for all the needs of my life, protects me from all danger, and guards and keeps me from all evil; and that He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me;  for all of which I am in duty bound to thank, praise, serve, and obey  Him. This is most certainly true.

THE SECOND ARTICLE
of redemption

And in Jesus Christ His  only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the  Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the living and the  dead.

What does this mean?

Answer: I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true  Man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord; Who has redeemed me, a lost  and condemned creature, bought me and freed me from all sins, from  death, and from the power of the devil; not with silver and gold, but  with His holy and precious blood, and with His innocent sufferings and death; in order that I might be His own, live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness; even as He is risen from the dead, and lives and reigns to all  eternity.  This is most certainly true.

THE THIRD ARTICLE
of sanctification

I believe in the Holy  Spirit; the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; The forgiveness of sins; The resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?

Answer: I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel,  enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the  true faith; in like manner as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and  sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and preserves it in  union with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He daily forgives abundantly all my sins, and the sins of all  believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ.  This is most certainly true.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

In the plain form in which the head of the family  shall teach it to his household.

THE INTRODUCTION

Our Father Who art in  heaven.

What does this mean?

Answer: God thereby tenderly encourages us to believe that He is truly our Father, and that we are  truly His children, so that we may boldly and confidently come to Him in prayer, even as beloved children come to their dear father.

THE FIRST PETITION

Hallowed be Thy Name.

What does this mean?

Answer: God's Name is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may be hallowed  also among us.

How is this done?

Answer: When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as God's children, lead holy lives, in accordance with it.  This grant us, dear Father in heaven! But whoever teaches and lives otherwise than as God's Word teaches,  profanes the Name of God among us. From this preserve us, heavenly  Father!

THE SECOND PETITION

Thy kingdom come.

What does this mean?

Answer: The kingdom of God comes indeed of itself, without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may also come to us.

How is this done?

Answer: When our heavenly  Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word, and live a godly life here on earth, and in heaven for ever.

THE THIRD PETITION

Thy will be done on earth  as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

Answer: The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may also be done among us.

How is this done?

Answer: When God destroys  and brings to naught every evil counsel and purpose of the devil, the  world, and our own flesh, which would hinder us from hallowing His Name, and prevent the coming of His kingdom; and when He strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith, even unto our end. This is His good and gracious will.

THE FOURTH PETITION

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?

Answer: God indeed gives daily bread to all men, even to the wicked, without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to acknowledge our daily  bread as His gift, and to receive it with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread?

Answer: Everything that is required to satisfy our bodily needs; such as food and raiment, house  and home, fields and flocks, money and goods; pious parents, children  and servants; godly and faithful rulers, good government; seasonable weather, peace and health; order and honor; true friends, good neighbors, and the like.

THE FIFTH PETITION

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?

Answer: We pray in this  petition that our heavenly Father would not regard our sins nor because  of them deny our prayers; for we neither merit, nor deserve those things for which we pray; but that He would grant us all things through grace, even though we sin daily, and deserve nothing but punishment. And  certainly we, on our part, will heartily forgive, and gladly do good to those who may sin against us.

THE SIXTH PETITION

And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

Answer: God indeed tempts no one to sin; but we pray in this petition that God would so guard and preserve us, that the devil, the world, and our own flesh may not  deceive us, nor lead us into error and unbelief, despair, and other great and shameful sins; but that, when so tempted, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

THE SEVENTH PETITION

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

Answer: We pray in this  petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us  from all manner of evil, whether it affect the body or soul, property or reputation, and at last, when the hour of death shall come, grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this world of sorrow to Himself in heaven.

THE CONCLUSION

For Thine is the kingdom,  and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

What does the word "Amen"  mean?

Answer: It means that I  should be assured that such petitions are acceptable to our heavenly Father, and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this manner, and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen, that is Yea, yea, it shall be so.

THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

In the plain form in which the head of the family shall teach it to his household.

I

What is baptism?

Answer: Baptism is not simply water, but it is the water used according to God's command and connected with God's Word.

II

What is this Word of God?

Answer: It is the word of  our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: "Go  therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the  Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."

III

What gifts or benefits does  Baptism bestow?

Answer: It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting  salvation to all who believe, as the word and promise of God declares.

What is this word and  promise of God?

Answer: It is the word of  our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded in the last chapter of Mark: "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has  disbelieved shall be condemned."

How can water do such great  things?

Answer: It is not the water, indeed, that does such great things, but the Word of God connected with the water, and our faith which relies on that Word of God. For without the Word of God, it is simply water and no Baptism.  But when connected with the Word of God, it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life, and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says to Titus, in the third chapter: "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy statement."

IV

What does such baptizing with water signify?

Answer: It signifies that  the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil lusts, should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and be put to death; and that  the new man should daily come forth and rise, to live before God in  righteousness and holiness for ever.

Where is it so written?

Answer: St. Paul, in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, says: "We have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."

OF CONFESSION

What is confession?

Answer: Confession consists  of two parts: the one is that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution or forgiveness from the pastor as from God Himself, in no wise doubting, but firmly believing, that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

What sins should we confess?

Answer: Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all manner of sins, even of those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord's Prayer. To the pastor we should confess only those sins which we know and feel in our hearts.

What are such sins?

Answer: Here examine yourself in the light of the Ten Commandments, whether, as father or  mother, son or daughter, master or servant, you have been disobedient, unfaithful, slothful, ill-tempered, unchaste, or quarrelsome, or whether you have injured any one by word or deed, stolen, neglected or wasted  aught, or done any other evil.

THE SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR

In the plain form in which the head of the family shall teach it to his household.

I

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

Answer: It is the true Body  and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, given us Christians to eat and to drink, as it was instituted by Christ Himself.

Where is it so written?

Answer: The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, together with St. Paul, write  thus: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the night in which He was betrayed,  took break; and when He had given thanks, He brake it and gave it to His disciples, saying, 'Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me.'  After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, 'Drink ye all of it; this cup is the New Testament in My  blood, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins;  this do as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.'"

II

What is the benefit of such  eating and drinking?

Answer: It is pointed out in these words: "Given and shed for you for the remission of sins."   Through these words the remission of sins, life and salvation are given  unto us in the Sacrament; for where there is remission of sins, there is also life and salvation.

III

How can the bodily eating  and drinking produce such great benefits?

Answer: The eating and drinking, indeed, do not produce them, but the words: "Given and shed for you for the remission of sins."  For besides the bodily eating and  drinking, these words are the chief thing in the Sacrament; and he who  believes them, has what they say and declare, namely, the remission of sins.

IV

Who, then, receives the  Sacrament worthily?

Answer: Fasting and bodily preparation are indeed a good outward discipline, but he is truly worthy and well prepared who believes these words: "Given and shed for you for the remission of sins."  But he who does not believe these words or who doubts them, is unworthy and unprepared; for the words: "For you,"  require truly believing hearts.

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