THE WEEK OF TRINITY XII – WEDNESDAY

LESSON: MATTHEW 9:18‒22

He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

This Gospel (Mark 7:31‒37) suggests discussion on the part played by another’s faith in our salvation. These men brought the deaf man to Jesus as a fruit of their faith in Jesus. The deaf man made no contribution at all; he played an entirely passive role.

We should note at the outset that it is quite impossible to be saved by another man’s faith in the sense that the other man does the believing for you and in your place. But it may well happen that through another man’s faith, you yourself come to personal faith. In a similar way, the works of another man can help me or influence me to perform works of my own. Those people are lying who claim that we can be saved through the works and faith of others, whether we have personal faith for ourselves or not. It is not so! Unless you derive a personal faith for yourself from God’s goodness and mercy, you cannot be saved.

This is how the case stands. If you do not have your own personal faith, neither the faith nor work of another man will help you, not even Christ who is a Savior for the whole world. His goodness and His help avails you nothing unless you yourself have faith in Him, and are thereby enlightened. Therefore, be on your guard against anyone who directs you for help to another’s faith. Tell such a would-be helper, “If you want to serve me with your works, make an approach to God and say to Him, ‘Dear heavenly Father, through Your grace I have come to faith, therefore I beseech You, my God, give this poor man faith also.’ This could help me, but it is impossible for you to give me your own faith. And even if you could do so, it would help me not at all.”

SL 11:1518 (7‒9)

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, of all the many gifts which You have bestowed upon us in Your grace and mercy, none is more important to us than the gift of faith. Make our faith strong and a powerful source of good works, through Your holy Gospel and for Christ’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, 4:370-380.