THE WEEK OF TRINITY IV – WEDNESDAY
LESSON: 2 CORINTHIANS 6:1-2
What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift? I Corinthians 4:7
We must always receive before we can give. Before we practice mercy, we must receive mercy from God. We never lay the first stone. The sheep does not seek out the shepherd, but the shepherd the sheep.
See to it, then, that you always keep works in their proper place. You do not obtain anything from God by your works. You obtain all that you receive from God without any merit or worthiness on your part at all, as God says to us in Isaiah, “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me” (Isaiah 65:1). At the end of the same chapter, God says, “Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). Before we seek Him, He finds us; before we ask after Him, He already hears us.
This is also what Paul says in the famous section of Romans, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justified him who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26).
Paul explains it all very neatly when he says later on in Romans, “If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise, grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:6).
SL 11:1276 (15)
PRAYER: O God our Father, let us find mercy in Your sight so that we have grace to serve You acceptably with due reverence and godly fear, and further grace not to receive Your undeserved love in vain or to neglect it or fall away from it, but to stir us up to grow up in it and persevere therein, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.