Devotion 263 – Thursday of Pentecost 3

Devotion

No one can be justified by the law, no sin can be taken away by the law. Everything is and remains unforgiven for anyone who holds to the deeds of the law. But in Jesus Christ is forgiveness of sins for everything and everyone. The law demands punishment for everything, Christ grants mercy for everything. With Him all works are done, all punishment suffered, all righteousness fulfilled. Therefore it says: “Come, for all things are now ready.” No one has such terrible sins that they should outweigh the blood of God’s Son. No one has so many sins that they should be worth more than the merit of God’s Son. No one is so corrupt that Jesus cannot cure him, no one so deeply fallen but Jesus still can raise him up. In Jesus there is a remedy for everything, but only in Him, nowhere else. If you could penetrate heaven, you would find no one else who can take away your sin, for there is no other Savior. But come to Him with everything that troubles your conscience. He takes it all away. – That’s why He became Man, that’s why He died, that’s why He entered into heaven with His own blood and intercedes for us, so that we might have complete forgiveness of sins and eternal life in His name.

We learn here that “forgiveness of sins” and “justification” are essentially one and the same, which other Bible passages also clearly show as well. What does its mean to be justified? Answer: If I believe, God receives me in grace, “accounts to me Christ’s righteousness, frees me from sin and its punishment, and regards me in Christ as if I had never sinned.” – So I stand confident under my great High Priest and rejoice with Paul: “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Rom 8:33-34). Everything is given to me out of pure grace without anything of my own works or justice.

Our Bible passage is the end of the first sermon from Paul recorded for us, and gives us a summary of all that he spoke and wrote: Justification by faith in Christ for Jews and Gentiles. But he must add an admonition to the Jews. Let it also be an admonition to us: “Behold, you despisers, marvel and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which you will by no means believe, though one were to declare it to you.” The Lord did a work with the city and people of the Jews which they did not want to believe when it was proclaimed to them. It stands there before our eyes. So let us not in unbelief despise his love, trample His justifying grace under foot, and bring His condemning wrath upon ourselves!

Closing Prayer

Merciful God, show us our sin, and draw us with the call of grace. Do not leave us, for Jesus’ sake do not leave us in sin and unbelief, but convert us, and justify us in His blood. Amen.

Hymn

Bewail your wretched state,
The wicked life you’re living;
Then I will sure forget
The evil you are giving;
There is no joy for Me
When sinners die disgraced;
So may your refuge be
Within My kind embrace.

My Son is on the throne,
Of life and grace the Winner;
His blood and death atone
For each and ev’ry sinner.
And all who look to Him
With faith and heartfelt trust
Shall never be condemned,
But find eternal rest.

Brorson: O giver Lyd L 460:4-5 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Nun danket alle Gott (ELH 63); alternate hymn: Blest is the man ELH 416:2.4

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