EASTER – WEEK 4 – SATURDAY
LESSON: EPHESIANS 1:11-14
It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
If I am to be accounted righteous before God, it is not enough for me to do good works externally; I must do them from the bottom of my heart with delight and in love, so that I stand unafraid before sin, death, and the devil, free and joyful, with a good conscience and all confidence before God, knowing how I stand with Him.
No work and no creature can give me any assurance here. When it comes to righteousness before God, I must look to Christ alone, to Him who has gone to the Father in heaven where I cannot see Him but must believe that He is up above and will help me. This faith makes me acceptable to God, for Christ gives me the Holy Spirit in my heart. It is He who makes me ready and glad to perform all good works. In this way, I am accounted righteous before God and in no other way.
As long as you operate with works, you will become more and more wretched and disconsolate the more that you devote yourself to them. The more you rest your faith on Christ alone as your one and only hope and source of righteousness and salvation, the more you will experience the real joy of salvation in Christ.
Where Christ is really acknowledged for what He is, the Holy Spirit cannot remain absent.
SL 11:871 (17-18)
PRAYER: Thanks be to You, heavenly Father, for the riches of Your grace and mercy in Christ Jesus and also for the seal and guarantee that you have given us in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, that we are your beloved children in and through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 3:110-124.