Reflections: Friday the Fifteenth Week of Pentecost

September 15, 2023

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:1-18

Daily Lectionary: 1 Kings 11:1-26, 2 Corinthians 6:1-18

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Do not receive the grace of God in vain,” which means to receive God’s grace to no purpose, for emptiness, or as if it were worthless. Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians is based on this fact: whatever their problems, whatever their sins, whatever their conflicts, they have received the grace of God. God has not kept it from them. Paul is citing a promise given to the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah, that God would restore them after their exile. He would send a servant as a light for both Israel and the nations (Gentiles) (Isaiah 49:6, 8). 

To receive God’s grace in vain would be to plaster it as an excuse over our sin and rejection of God’s will. This is what Solomon did in 1 Kings 11, when he made room for the idols of the nations, which came into Israel through his many wives and concubines. And Paul touches on the same point in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, when he emphasizes that every baptized Christian has been set aside, taken out of the kingdom of this world’s darkness, and put into Christ’s kingdom of light. 

The actions of the Corinthians often show that they are more closely tied to the world than to Christ. Of course, we are no different. We, too, are often conformed to the ways of the world, rather than transformed by the renewal of our minds in Christ. 

This is where Luther’s morning and evening prayers can be so helpful for the daily living of our life in Christ: in the morning, remind yourself with the sign of Christ’s holy cross that you are baptized, no matter what happens today; thankful that the Lord has kept us this past night, we pray that He would keep us today from all sin and evil. Then, when we come to the end of the day, we give thanks that He has brought us through the day; we ask Christ’s forgiveness for what we have done wrong, and we make the sign of Christ’s cross to remind ourselves that no matter what happened today, we belong to Jesus. 

Every single day is the favorable time when God calls us back to our baptism; every day is the day of salvation. Today is the day that God hears you cry out for His mercy. Today He helps you with His grace. Today He makes His dwelling with you, so that you are the temple of the living God! Today; and tomorrow when it is called today, and every day after that, until we see the salvation that is ours in Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Today Your mercy calls us To wash away our sin./However great our trespass,  Whatever we have been,  However long from mercy  Our hearts have turned away,  Your precious blood can was us/And make us clean today” (LSB 915:1).

– Pastor Timothy Winterstein is pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, East Wenatchee, Washington.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.