EPIPHANY III – TUESDAY
LESSON: GALATIANS 2:11-16
We hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. Romans 3:28
You see how the example of the leper (Matthew 8:1-4) supports faith against works. For, just as Christ helped this leper out of pure grace through faith without any works or merits on his part, so He helps all men. He also wants men to regard Him as such a helper, and to expect help from Him on this basis.
Had the leper come to Christ with all sorts of claims declaring, “See here, Lord, I have prayed and fasted so and so much. Please take note of all this, and make me clean accordingly,” Christ would never have cleansed him had he been so minded. Such a person does not rely on God’s grace, but on his own merits. In such a case, God’s grace is not praised, loved or desired, but personal works claim all the honor, and God is robbed of His due honor. As Isaiah declares, “They bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made,” Isaiah 2:8, that is, they put their confidence in their own works, and confer on their own works the honor belonging to God’s grace alone.
PRAYER: Lord, preserve us from that presumption which urges us to trust in our own works to the rejection of the grace, help and salvation which you are always ready and willing to bestow on us freely in and through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.