The Lutheran Confessions – Small Catechism – Table of Duties (Hymnal 328)
Sunday, June 2, 2013 – Grace Lutheran Church
Rev. Christopher Gillespie
- The Table of Duties describes what it is to live by faith in the grace of God (the Life of the New Man) as opposed to living living by faith in human merits.
Galatians 5:17 – “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
- The Old Adam is always self-centered, no sacrifice with cost or looking for benefit.
- The New Man sacrificial, self-giving, faith-active love. Gospel gives love, thus we love.
- Table of Duties addresses stations/offices/positions given by God.
- Can be sharp proclamation of the Law, uncovering the will of the flesh. Thus, useful in calling to repentance of both self-love and selfishness.
- Also describe Christ and what the new life of faith Christ looks like in this world. Notice how Christ fulfills every station given.
- Gospel of God’s grace in Christ is the heart of the Table of Duties.
- Not simply a list of stations, office, or work but a call to believe in the grace of God rather than one’s works.
- No one can fulfill these duties apart from the freedom of Christ’s forgiveness with faith in him alone.
- Table answers these questions: Where do I live out my faith in Christ who loved me and gave Himself for me? What does the life of faith in Christ and sacrificial love look like?
- Vivid description of Christ himself.
- Callings, stations, vocations God gives to us, to manifest the grace of God in their lives toward other sinners. We reflect Christ and His love to our neighbor.
“A Christian lives in his vocation or office by grace alone, and not by his own strength. His vocation is the calling to joyfully serve his neighbor in love, even as Christ laid down His life for him upon the cross. The strength to live faithfully in our vocations comes from the Gospel and sacraments of Christ, through which our faith in the forgiveness of sins is strengthened, and the fruit of loving service toward others is born” (Bender, Lutheran Catechesis, p. 9).
- We also must distinguish between the secular (left-hand) and spiritual right-hand) kingdoms, both ruled by God but in different ways.
- The secular rules through external relationships, by government and force of law. It is not concerned with heart or faith but rather law and order.
- The spiritual uses the Law not to maintain order or curb evil but for the sake of the Gospel—to bring about repentance and faith in Christ. The spiritual is concerned with the heart.
- Some vocations are primarily in one kingdom (secular, ruler or spiritual, pastor) and others both (parents).
- As secular, discipline with law to maintain order.
- As spiritual, forgive the children for Jesus’ sake (ultimate concern).