THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVIII – THURSDAY
LESSON: ROMANS 7:7‒11
I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Romans 7:22‒23
Be quite sure of this, that reason can never understand the Law or fulfill it, even though it may actually know what the Law requires of man. When do you do to someone else what you would like him to do to you? Who really loves his enemy in his heart? Who is glad to die? Who suffers disgrace and shame gladly? Show me a man who would prefer to hear an evil report about himself or to live in poverty?
Nature and human reason avoid such misfortunes as much as possible. They shun them and are alarmed and dismayed by them. Human nature, moreover, will never be able to accomplish what God requires of us in this Law—namely, that we resign our will to God’s will, that we renounce our own understanding of matters, our own will, might, and powers, and say with all our heart, “Your will be done!”
You will certainly never find a single individual who loves God with his whole heart and his neighbor as himself. It may well happen that two people who are bosom friends manage to get along in a friendly manner. But there can also be hypocrisy in such relationships. They often last only as long as no injury intervenes to break up the relationship. Then you will see soon enough how much you love that special friend and whether you are flesh or spirit. The Law requires of us that we should always be really friendly towards someone who has injured us—but who keeps the Law to this extent?
PRAYER: Lord God, heavenly Father, forgive us our many sins against Your holy Law, in Christ’s name and for His 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, 5:169-183.