THE WEEK OF TRINITY XXIV – SATURDAY
LESSON: TITUS 2:11‒14
He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, . . . through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:5‒6
He who wants to have a cheerful conscience which does not fear sin, death, hell, or God’s wrath must not push this Mediator, Christ, out of the way. He is the fountain overflowing with grace who imparts temporal and eternal life. Open your heart and accept Him as your Mediator and you will have all you need. He gushes and flows forth and can do nothing else but give, flow forth, and gush, if only you can believe it. You have the right to the name Christian only when you are a Christian in receiving; otherwise, if you want to give much, you are no Christian. This is the rich, precious Word which Paul praises so highly and can never praise enough, that God intermingles His Son so graciously among us that He pours out His grace over all who accept it.
From all this it follows that if a Christian does good works and manifests love to his neighbor, he does not become a Christian or acquire a godly status thereby, but he must first be a Christian and have acquired a godly status, and then good works result. He certainly does good works, but his good works do not make him a Christian. The tree brings forth or produces good fruits; the fruits do not make the tree. So here also, no one becomes a Christian by good works, but through Christ alone.
From all this you should understand what kind of people Christians are and what their kingdom is. As a group, they cling to Christ, and with Him they all have the one spirit and like gifts. On this basis Christians are all equal; the one does not have more in Christ than the other.
PRAYER: Lord God, our heavenly Father, give us a faith that is ever active in works of love to or neighbor, in and through Christ 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, 5:326-343.