Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Thursday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on October 7, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: 3 John 2-8 (NKJV)
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
5 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, 7 because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.
In the Confessions of the Lutheran Church, the Epitome of the Formula of Concord states that the fruits of the Spirit happen in believers “voluntarily and freely, as if they had received no command, heard no threat and expected no reward” (Art. VI. Para. 5, Henkel Translation). In other words, those who believe in Christ and are regenerated by the power of the Holy Ghost do good works voluntarily, simply because they are made new. It is in the nature of the believer to be generous, kind, and to reflect the Savior who has redeemed us.
This is why John commends Gaius in this reading. Gaius is not trying to show forth some sort of inner righteousness by works, but instead is showing that Christ makes all believers into faithful servants. Of course, this is not always perfect in us, which is why Jesus commands His disciples to call themselves “unprofitable servants” even after they have done all that they are required to do (Luke 17:7-10).
Ultimately, we can take comfort in the Holy Ghost causing our good works instead of relying on our own strength to muster up a righteousness that will not save. Those in Christ will do good works because of what Christ has done for them.
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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