Reflections: July 28, 2021
Wednesday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
By Harrison Goodman
Lead us not into temptation. (Small Catechism: Lord's Prayer, Sixth Petition)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. After "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," God teaches us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation." I wonder if it's to remind us that Christian life isn't linear. You can take the Fifth Petition and run in a straight line one of two ways. The first is the idea of onward and upward. "I'm forgiven and now I build and that only goes one way. Constant improvement until perfection. Until I basically don't sin. Christian life is only measured in progress."
The second is continuing straight on in what we were doing in the first place. "Since I'm forgiven, might as well keep sinning. Shall we sin that grace may abound. . . " then quick, stop reading before it says, "BY NO MEANS." Since I know I'm forgiven I'll just do whatever I want. "Don't worry about who your sins hurt, don't worry about the God who calls you to strive against those desires. Christian life is measured only in freedom to do whatever I want while yelling stuff about grace."
Both are wrong. You're given this petition so you remember not just that you're forgiven, but that you're still in a bad spot. There's temptation there. So we pray, "Lead us not into temptation." It's not onward and upward or right on in sin. It's death and resurrection. Over and over. We are constantly in need of the Cross' forgiveness, and constantly strive to live in the resurrection's freedom from sin. We constantly beg to be free from temptation because we're constantly falling into it. It's war against old Adam, but it's fought in Christ, not in you. So even while we pray, we find comfort that He already won the victory.
There is no comfort in beating the drum of the Law or in claiming that your actions should have no consequences while everything else falls apart because you keep doing dumb stuff. There is comfort in the Lord who tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory. We pray that we would see the victory we already have in Christ and cling to Him until we see it face to face. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lead not into temptation, Lord, Where our grim foe and all his horde Would vex our souls on ev'ry hand. Help us resist, help us to stand Firm in the faith, a mighty host, Through comfort of the Holy Ghost. (Our Father, Who from Heaven Above" LSB 766, st.7)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is the pastor of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
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