Christian Questions with Their Answers
Prepared by Dr. Martin Luther* for those who intend to go to the Sacrament
After confession, and instruction in the Ten Commandments, Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and the sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Supper, the confessor may ask, or you may ask yourself:
1. Do you believe that you are a sinner?
Yes, I believe it: I am a sinner.
2. How do you know this?
From the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.
3. Are you also sorry for your sins?
Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God.
4. What have you deserved from God because of your sins?
His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation. [See Romans 6:21, Romans 23.]
5. Do you also hope to be saved?
Yes, that is my hope.
6. In whom, then, do you trust?
In my dear Lord Jesus Christ.
7. Who is Christ?
The Son of God, true God and man.
8. How many Gods are there?
Only one; but there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
9. What, then, has Christ done for you that you trust in Him?
He died for me, and shed His blood for me on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.
10. Did the Father also die for you?
No; for the Father is God only, as is the Holy Spirit. But the Son is true God and true man. He died for me and shed His blood for me.
11. How do you know this?
From the holy Gospel and from the words of the Sacrament, and by His body and blood given me as a pledge in the Sacrament.
12. How do these words read?
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: ‘Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.’
“In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
13. Do you believe, then, that the true body and blood of Christ are in the Sacrament?
Yes, I believe it.
14. What persuades you to believe this?
The word of Christ: “Take, eat, this is My body; drink of it, all of you, this is My blood.”
15. What should we do when we eat His body and drink His blood, and in this way receive the pledge?
We should proclaim and remember His death and the shedding of His blood, as He taught us: “This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
16. Why should we remember and proclaim His death?
So that we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins except Christ, true God and man; and so that we may learn to be horrified by our sins, and to regard them as serious; and to find joy and comfort in Him alone, and thus be saved through such faith.
17. What was it that moved Him to die for your sins and make satisfaction for them?
His great love for His Father, for me, and for other sinners, as it is written in John 13:31, John 15:13, Romans 5:8, Galatians 2:20 and Ephesians 5:2.
18. Finally, why do you wish to go to the Sacrament?
That I may learn to believe that Christ, out of great love, died for my sin, as has already been said; and that I may also learn from Him to love God and my neighbour.
19. What should admonish and encourage Christians to receive the Sacrament frequently?
With regard to God, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord should move them; and also their own troubles that burden them, on account of which this command, encouragement and promise are given.
20. But what should you do if you are not aware of such trouble, and feel no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?
To such people no better advice can be given than that, first, they put their hand to their body and feel whether they still have flesh and blood, and that they by all means believe what the Scriptures say of the flesh in Galatians 5:19–21 and Romans 7:18–19.
Secondly, they should look around to see whether they are still in the world, and keep in mind that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15:18–19 and 16:20, and 1 John 2:15–16 and 1 John 5:19.
Thirdly, they will certainly have the devil also around them, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let them have no peace within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8:44, 1 Peter 5:8–9, Ephesians 6:11–12 and 2 Timothy 2:26.
Note: These questions and answers are no child’s play, but are drawn up with great earnestness of purpose by the venerable and devout Dr. Luther for both young and old. Let each one pay attention and consider it a serious matter; for St. Paul writes to the Galatians in chapter six: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.”
* The “Christian Questions with Their Answers,” designating Luther as the author, first appeared in an edition of the Small Catechism in 1551, five years after Luther’s death.