Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Monday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on October 4, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. John 15:1-17 (NKJV)
15:15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
Jesus teaches us to love Him by keeping His commandments. This seems like an impossible task for poor sinners. When we focus on ourselves and draw nutrients from our own righteousness, then we can clearly see that keeping God’s commandments is impossible. To try to accomplish God’s Law by our own righteousness is the trap the Pharisees of Jesus’ day often fell into.
However, our Lord tells us where we must look in order to love and cherish His commandments. Jesus says that He is the true vine and we are grafted into Him. Our obeying the Law comes from the nutrients which the vine gives to the branches, which is the righteousness Jesus gives us sinners when He forgives our sins. He strengthens and preserves us in faith by His Spirit.
The righteousness of Christ pays for our sin and makes us a new creation so we can be free from sin and free to abide in Christ forever. We do not look to ourselves in order to keep the Law, but we obey Jesus’ commandments because He has grafted us into the true vine and we receive our righteousness from Him.
Prayer: O God, forasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee: Mercifully grant, that Thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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