Reflections: Thursday of the Tenth Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Lord’s Prayer, Sixth Petition

Daily Lectionary: 1 Kings 7:51-8:21; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18 

Lead us not into temptation. (Small Catechism: Lord’s Prayer)


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 by progress.” The second way is straight on in what we were doing in the first place. “Since I’m forgiven, I might as well keep sinning.” We read, “Shall we sin that grace may abound?” and then quickly stop reading before it says, “BY NO MEANS.”  That leads to “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 us to strive against those desires. Christian life is measured only in freedom to do whatever you 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. We pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” It’s not onward and upward or right on in sin. It’s death and resurrection. We are constantly in need of the forgiveness that comes through the Cross, 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. He has already won the victory.  


There is no comfort in beating the drum of the Law. There is no real comfort 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. Christian life is measured by Jesus’ bringing us through sin and death to resurrection. 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 content executive for Higher Things.

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.