As I was doing my morning reading in Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, it dawned on me that the really tragic thing about sin is not so much the sin itself, but the fact that so many people, even those of us who are in the Church, rather than run to Christ and his perfect righteousness, take refuge in our own works and cleverly devised remedies. We think that the answer to our sin is in our amendment of life, in our personal improvement. Rather than live under grace, we place ourselves under Law once again. Rather than allow ourselves to be comforted by the knowledge that Christ justifies the ungodly apart from their works, we think that we must do something, anything to bring ourselves back into a right relationship with our Creator. How easy it is for us to slip into this mindset, and how pleased as pie the devil is whenever we do. To me, this is the truly tragic thing about sin–when we take refuge in ourselves rather than in the One who has suffered, died, risen, and ascended for us and now sits at the right hand of His Father, interceding for us. As Luther so aptly puts it: “For if the doctrine of Justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost” (AE 26, p. 9).
I’m always suffering from indecision when it comes to planning and preparing lessons for catechesis. Where does one start? What materials ought to be used? Perhaps the best place to start would be at the doctrine of justification–if indeed this is the central and chief article of Christian doctrine.