Reflections: Friday of the Eighth Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 28:3-25; 1 Corinthians 6:1-20

Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

In the Name + of Jesus.  Amen. The above list is not exhaustive. You could add “murderers” and “persecutors” to the list, and Paul himself would be included. Paul, like the Christians whom he served, had a past. He was part of the mob that stoned Stephen, the first New Testament martyr (Acts 7:58; 8:1), and he was a persecutor and violent opponent of the first Christians (1 Timothy 1:13). But Jesus had lovingly and firmly called him to repentance on the Damascus road (Acts 9), sent him to a preacher where he heard the Gospel and was washed in Baptism, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and justified in the Name of Jesus Christ. Paul was a changed man. 

So were the Christians in Corinth, whom Paul had evangelized. Some of them had similarly dark pasts. But they, too, had been brought to repentance and faith through Paul’s preaching of Law and Gospel. They were changed men and women, but that didn’t mean that their struggles with sin were over. They were constantly tempted to slip back into the sins which once held such sway over their lives and sometimes, in weakness, they gave in to those temptations. Their lives would be those of daily repentance and faith, living in the forgiveness of sins. As Christians, their sins no longer defined them. No longer were they sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, etc. They had a new identity in Christ. Paul was warning them not to abandon their new identity and return to a life defined by unrepentant sins, but instead to embrace their true identity in Christ and live as those redeemed by Christ. 


The same is true for you. Like Paul and the Corinthians, you may have a past, too, one that still tempts and troubles you. But that past doesn’t define you. Christ does. You have been watermarked in your Baptism, sanctified by the Holy Spirit and justified in Jesus’ Name. And that life, the life of the redeemed is far better. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

Now my conscience is at peace; From the Law I stand acquitted. Christ hath purchased my release And my ev’ ry sin remitted. Naught remains my soul to grieve: Jesus sinners doth receive. (“Jesus Sinners Doth Receive” LSB 609, st.6)

-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Christians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.