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Monday of Lent 1

[Jesus said,] “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’ ” — Matthew 6:9

God’s name is holy in itself, but God does not will for His name to remain holy by itself. He wills that His name be kept holy among us also. Thus, the First Petition of the Lord’s Prayer is a petition for the spread of the Gospel to all nations, as we sing in the second stanza in Martin Luther’s Lord’s Prayer hymn: “All poor deluded souls convert.”

The conversion of poor deluded souls from sin, death, and hell to forgiveness, life, and salvation does not happen by appealing to the desires of the flesh through entertainment, needs, or reasonable teachings. It happens only through the true and pure Word of God, as St. Paul writes in Romans 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.”

This is why doctrine matters. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). True and pure doctrine has the power to forgive the most wretched sinner, to raise the dead, to give eternal salvation to souls trapped by the snares of the devil. It has the power to create clean hearts and renew right spirits in those who believe, hearts that delight in the Lord’s Law and seek to do His will. False and corrupted doctrine threatens all that. It misleads sinners to trust in their own works to earn salvation; it also leads believers to misunderstand and misuse the Law, or even abolish its use for Christians.

Let us therefore abide in the truth and purity of God’s Word and lead holy lives according to it. May God continue to send forth those who teach His Word, so poor deluded souls would be converted and be saved.

Father in heaven, bless the preaching of Your Word, that by its truth and purity sinners would be converted and inherit eternal life. Amen.?

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