THE WEEK OF TRINITY XXIV – THURSDAY
LESSON: GALATIANS 3:23‒29
To all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God. John 1:12
If one takes the word in its strict meaning, we should always recognize a Christian from the fact that he receives from Christ alone and has Christ in him, for that is what the term “Christian” basically means. Just as one calls someone “white” from his whiteness or “black” from his blackness or “big” from his bigness, so also a Christian is named from Christ whom he has in himself and from whom he receives good. If, then, a Christian receives the name “Christian” from Christ, he can never be called a Christian from his works. Similarly, it follows from this that no one ever becomes a Christian from his works.
Therefore those who ply our congregations with their commandments, works, and statutes are seducers who cannot possibly make Christians out of men. Although they profess the Christian name, they still want to load us down under the dead weight of the commandments and works which they set forth. According to works, I can be called a faster, a prayer-maker, a pilgrim, but not necessarily a Christian.
Even if you wove all your works together and added the works of all others to them, it would not necessarily mean that you have Christ and were entitled to be called a Christian. Christ is completely separated from and higher than any law or human commandment. He is God’s Son, prepared only to give and not to receive.
PRAYER: You are our all, Lord Jesus, and in us all. Without You we are nothing. Grant that we may ever abide in You and You in us in the tie of faith and love, for Your name’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, 5:326-343.