In the masterplan of Lutheran Catechesis the six principal parts work to give us a comprehensive framework of the Christian Faith. What follows is a sketch of how it works; keeping in mind the goal of catechesis is leading a person to repentance and faith in Christ.
In the Commandments God’s Word is meant to lead us to repentance. The Law reflects God’s will and his expectations of us. Out of fear of punishment his law curbs evil in this world. But the flood of our sinful rebellion often overcomes the curb. Here the Law also functions as a mirror. This mirror when held closely and clearly before us, shows us to be lost and condemned sinners. Were it not for what comes next we would be lost, full of terror, and goners.
What comes next is a discussion of how God works mercifully with lost and condemned sinners. In the Creed we learn how God creates, gives life, and sustains us by his grace. In the Creed we learn how God works through his Son to redeem us from sin, death, and servitude to the evil one. And in the Creed we learn how the Holy Spirit brings us to saving faith in Christ, who in turn brings us to the Father. All this is done on our behalf by sheer grace!
Of course we are not redeemed so that we sit on the shelf like a turnip. We are restored so that we can get on with the stewardship and good works for which we were created. Doing this will not save us, but being saved we are put in position to fulfill the role for which we were created in the first place. But this will only happen with ongoing prayer, in fact most especially by praying for the very things our Lord Jesus taught us in his prayer – the Lord’s Prayer.
Baptism, Confession, and Holy Communion are the tangible ways we meet the Lord in his Word to us in addition to hearing the Word in preaching and teaching (catechesis).
Since You Asked…
What is the meaning of the Incarnation?
The word incarnation is taken from Latin term incarnatio. It literally means “taking flesh” and in the Christian Faith it refers to God becoming human. In John 1:14 we learn of God the Son becoming flesh with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed the child born to Mary was a man, but it is the insistence of the Christian Faith that Jesus was also fully God. He is sometimes called the God-Man. Without ceasing to be fully divine, inseparable and equal to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; God the Son also fully assumed our humanity in the womb of the Virgin Mary. In this way Jesus mediates God to man and then also represents man to God. The mystery of the Incarnation becomes a necessary means by which Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplishes our salvation.