THE WEEK OF TRINITY IX – FRIDAY

LESSON: HEBREWS 12:18-24

Enter not into judgement with thy servant; for no man living is righteous before thee. Psalm 143:2

It seems, on the surface, that Christ in this week’s Gospel (Luke 16:1-9) actually suggests that we should do good works by means of unrighteous mammon, so that we may obtain eternal life thereby and that those whom we have helped with our mammon may receive us into eternal habitations.

Our opponents are not slow to remind us that we have always taught we should not do good works to inherit eternal life and that what we read here seems to be the direct opposite of this doctrine. What are we going to say to this? There are many passages here and there in Scripture which speak of our merits. With these, our opponents think they can set God’s mercy at naught and force us to adopt the position that we must satisfy God’s justice with our good works. Be on your guard against such views and take up your stand on God’s pure grace and mercy alone, saying, “I am a poor sinner, O God; forgive me my sins. I will gladly keep silent about my merits if you will only keep silent about your judgement.”

Why was Christ given us as our Mediator? If we want God to enter into judgement with us on the basis of good works, we push Christ aside as our Mediator. And without Christ’s work of mediation, we cannot stand before God. Hence, let Him remain your mediator. Seek the cover of His wings as the psalmist advises: “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge” (Psalm 91:4).

Let this be your prayer: “O God, I do not presume to claim any merit before you from my works, but devote them to the service of my neighbor, placing all my faith and trust in your pure mercy alone.”
SL 11:1452 (14)

PRAYER: We give You eternal thanks and praise, heavenly Father, for the riches of Your grace and mercy continually bestowed upon us poor, lost, and condemned sinners, in and through our Savior and Mediator, Your Son Jesus Christ. 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, 4:291-301.