THE WEEK OF TRINITY IX – THURSDAY

LESSON: PSALM 15

Faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

Scripture also speaks of our walk of life externally, of how we are to walk with our fellowmen as human beings made up of flesh and blood. That I am accounted truly righteous before God is something that you do not know, and I myself cannot simply take it for granted. I must make my faith sure and certain for myself and other people as well. I must do good to my neighbor so that my faith proves itself.

External works are signs of inward faith. These works do not actually make me godly and pious, but they demonstrate that I am godly and pious and attest that I have the right faith. This is how I must understand the injunction of the Gospel, “Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon,” that is, do good to make your faith sure and certain. So, we must distinguish between the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit.

Luke describes the fruit of faith as giving to the poor and making friends for ourselves in this way. He means to say to us: “I do not want to speak to you now about faith as such, but about how you should prove your faith. Do good to your neighbor, and if you can really give to him out of the goodness of your heart, you can be quite sure about your faith.”

Scripture at times speaks about the fruits of faith, at other times about faith as such. It speaks to us about the fruits faith when we are told in Matthew that on judgement day the Lord will say to those who have been rejected on His left hand, “I was hungry, and you gave me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink” (Matthew 25:42). He will point out to those on His left hand that they did not really believe in Him and will demonstrate their unbelief from their lack of fruits of faith.

SL 11:1451 (11-12)

PRAYER: Lord God, faith that does not prove itself in works of love is a dead faith and of no value at all, as You plainly demonstrate in many clear passages of Your holy Word. Grant us Your grace and strength at all times to prove that our faith is a faith that works by love, in and through our Savior 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.