THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVIII – FRIDAY

LESSON: ROMANS 8:1‒11

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1‒2

Christ wants to show us in this week’s Gospel (Matthew 22:34‒36) that the Law is preached correctly only when we learn from it that we cannot fulfill it, and that on the basis of the Law we are really the devil’s own children. Experience teaches us this, and it is also indicated in various parts of Holy Scripture, especially in the epistles of Paul. Paul says in Romans, “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7‒8).

So consider this commandment in the Gospel very carefully, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” Concentrate on this commandment and really make a serious effort to keep it. Do some searching here! Study the nature of the commandment! You will find, or course, that you are far from fulfilling it, that is, from accepting with your whole heart what God wants from you on the basis of this commandment.

It is sheer hypocrisy for anyone to crawl away into some corner and think, “I will love God,” or “O how I love God, my Father! How well disposed I am to Him!” and similar self-congratulations. It is not difficult for us to fulfill the Law on our own terms, especially if we can persuade ourselves that we enjoy His favor. But when misfortune intervenes and opposition is encountered, it can be a very different story. Then we soon lose sight of God as our loving Father.

SL.XI.1694,22

PRAYER: We thank and praise You, heavenly Father, for the victory over all sin, including all our sins against Your holy Law, which You have provided for us in and through our Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. 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, 5:169-183.