Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Philippians 3:2-11 (NKJV)
3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Christians are not given the option to bring forth good works in their lives—it is God’s will that we live according to His commandments. The Apostle James staunchly defends the importance of good works, teaching us that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20) But St. Paul also warns us against putting our confidence in our works as though they merited anything before God.
Writing about his Jewish pedigree, Paul argues that if anyone could boast in his works and his zeal for the Law, he certainly could. But he counts all those things as nothing when compared to the righteousness of faith. True confidence before God cannot come from the works of the Law but only by faith in Christ and His righteousness! It is Christ’s obedience, His death and resurrection that avails for our salvation. By faith alone, without works, His righteousness is counted to us.
If we were to rely on our own works and acts of penance for eternal life, then the cross of Christ would mean nothing. We should abandon the false hope that these things provide and look only to the Son of God. While we Christians must be careful to maintain good works in this life, we should always remember that our justification is not found in the works of the Law but only through our perfect and ever-living Savior.
Prayer: O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Thy Holy Spirit, that being ever mindful of the end of all things, and the day of Thy just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with Thee forever hereafter; 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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