THE WEEK OF TRINITY VI – TUESDAY
LESSON: ROMANS 10:5-13
“Whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.” Matthew 5:21
Christ here interprets the law of Moses and pronounces a judgment which applies all over the world. What man on this earth is not guilty of breaking this commandment? What will we do now in the face of the necessity of keeping this commandment while not being able to do so? We cannot sweep away the mire. We are faced with despair and must judge ourselves accordingly. Hence, God’s laws are only a mirror in which we see our filth and wickedness; they shut all of us up under sin so that we cannot work our way out of this situation by our own strength and free will. Something else has to come to our assistance.
Christ continues and says, “Whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca’ [‘you fool’], shall be liable to the hell of fire.” “Raca” is an abusive name manifesting anger or hatred. Anger or hatred, of course, is no excuse for breaking one of God’s commandments. Even though I am obliged to regard someone with whom I am at enmity in a friendly manner, signs of hatred and anger like abusive names will make it clear that my heart is not really behind my friendly exterior.
Dig into your own experience. Take a close look at others as well as yourself, and you will find that no one can help himself out of the dilemma into which his wicked disposition continually drags him and which is deeply implanted by human nature. You may adopt a friendly attitude to your brother, but you cannot give him your heart, even if you were to tear yourself apart in the effort. In this matter, we are beyond human help. Only God and His Holy Spirit can bring about the necessary change here which can spell success for us.
SL 11:1338 (7-8)
PRAYER: Change our hearts by Your Holy Spirit, heavenly Father, that we may receive the necessary strength to run the way of Your commandments in the service we render to our neighbor in faith and love, through Jesus our Savior. 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, 4:167-178.