Reflections: Thursday of the 18th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 19:1-20; Matthew 15:1-20

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,… who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:4, 8)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I think that Paul might have written these words for himself as much as he wrote them for the Christians in Corinth. You see, Paul wrote a series of letters to the Corinthians, in order to correct and rebuke them. They were terribly divided, full of pride, confused about basic Christian teachings, and were committing very gross sins. Paul was probably worried that he had labored over them in vain—that they were forsaking God and returning to the world, and that they would forsake his teachings and lose their salvation.

So, as he begins this letter, he reminds them (and perhaps himself) that the grace of God had really been given to them. God actually received these messed-up sinners into His Kingdom. And not only that, but Jesus will sustain them to the end. God won’t begin something, only to give up halfway. God is intent on finishing what He started. God will continue to give them grace; He will continue to forgive their divisions, pride, false doctrine, and vices. Therefore, when the Day of the Lord arrives, they will stand guiltless before their Lord.

In our American context, Lutherans frequently address the issue of conversion. We remind our Protestant neighbors that we cannot come to God on our own, but the Holy Spirit must convert us. Paul is talking about the other side of that coin—perseverance. He’s reminding us that the Holy Spirit doesn’t merely give us faith only to leave us alone. No, the Spirit constantly nourishes and defends our faith. He doesn’t give us grace once, but He gives us grace daily, so that we remain in Christ and are found safe in Him on Judgment Day. 

Perhaps you have friends or family who you are worried about, concerned that they might forsake the Lord in the future. If so, take refuge in these words of Paul, who was a father to the Corinthians. Remember that the crucified and risen Lord is committed to His people. He intends to see them through to the end. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in the faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Prayer for Steadfast Faith, LSB p.311)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

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.