THE WEEK OF TRINITY IV – THURSDAY

LESSON: JAMES 2:14-17

Brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10-11

Good works should always be a sure sign to me, resembling a seal on a letter, to make me certain that my faith is right. If I feel in my heart that a certain work has flowed from the love in my heart, I can be certain that my faith is as it should be. If I forgive, my forgiveness should assure me that my own faith is a living reality. It guarantees and proves my own faith that God has forgiven me and forgives me daily. But if I do not forgive, I should quickly have to conclude that there is something lacking in my faith.

This was also Abraham’s experience. Works made his own faith known to him. God certainly knew that he had faith, but Abraham also had to know this and prove his faith.

Works are therefore the fruits and proof which freely follow faith. Of what use would it be to me if I had a strong faith but did not know it? It would be like having a chest full of florins and not knowing it. This would be of no use to me. But if someone made this known to me, his service to me would seem like a gift.

So also with faith. If I have faith and do not know it, it is of no use to me. Therefore, it must break forth and become known to me by the works which follow it. Peter urges us to do good works, not that we should thereby be called, but to confirm our call and offer proof of it.

SL 11:1277 (16-17)

PRAYER: Lord God, heavenly Father, endow us with a true, living faith which always proves itself in works of love to our neighbor, for the Savior’s sake. 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, 4:97-110.