Reflections: Thursday of the Fourth Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Judges 14:1-20; Galatians 3:1-22

But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In Galatians 3, Paul teaches about the Law and the Gospel. In order to understand the Bible, we need to be clear on the distinction between the two. The Bible was written in order that we might have an account of who man is and what he needs. According to Galatians 3:22, the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin. This came about when Adam and Eve desired to be like God and ate of the fruit that they were commanded not to touch. From that moment forward, everything on earth was held captive by sin. Death reigned, and all who failed perfectly to live up to the teachings of God’ s holy Law were dead in their trespasses. This is the state all of us are in, for the Law clearly shows us our sins. It tells us what we have done and left undone. Left in that condition, we would be enemies of God and would receive the punishment of hell on account of our sins. What a horrible state in which to live!

However, God loved His creation. He loved us, so He made a promise long ago that One would be born who would save His people from their sins. These words are the message of the Gospel. Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise. Jesus came, and by His death on the Cross, He offered up the eternal sacrifice for sin. We are justified by faith, and the promises of God have come true. The Gospel is that Jesus died for you and that on account of His blood shed on the Cross, all your sins are forgiven. This is the promise that is given for all those who believe. This is your promise. Because of Christ, the promise has now been fulfilled. We are children of Abraham and offspring of the promise. We have received Jesus through Absolution, through preaching, and by the Sacraments. These great blessings are ours by faith, and for these Gifts, we give thanks to God. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Father in heaven, we give thanks to You for Your words of Law that show us our sins and drive us to despair of ourselves. And we praise You for the words of the Gospel that give us Jesus who has bought us with His precious blood. Continue to keep us in the true faith so that we might at the Last Day hear the voice of our Savior calling us to be with Him. Amen. 

-Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.

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.