Devotion 376 – Friday of Pentecost 17

Opening Thought

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psa 126:5)

Text: Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Devotion

In vain the devil accuses the believers of their sin and weakness that still always remains; they continually stand in grace, clothed with Christ’s righteousness, and thus are always at peace with God. The Apostle isn’t talking here about the peaceful feeling of their heart, but about how God looks at them, that He no longer condemns or holds them guilty, but is to them a God of peace and a gracious Father in Christ. Rejoice in the midst of all your troubles, dear Christians! You always live in “the abode of peace and in the tents of safety” with the Almighty. To have Him as your enemy is frightening, but to be His child by grace is bliss; for “when He is with us, who can be against us!”

In Christ faith has open access to God’s heart; He has given us the Lord’s Prayer and has placed the Spirit’s cry “Abba, Father” in our soul, so that by His blood we dare boldly to enter into the holy place and find help at all times. Glorious state of grace! And yet hope for the coming glory is our boast. But for that very reason no trouble can take away our joy, rather we boast even in our tribulations. It is said about a mother, that “she is in pain from the day she became a mother.” This can be said even more rightly of a Christian. Every day there is persecution from the world and chastisement from God, weariness and anxiety and danger and fear. But we boast in this, for “tribulation produces perseverance,” – “produces it,” not just demands it; and “perseverance produces character.” It teaches us to suffer quietly, but to keep our confidence and to win. It burns away pride and sadness and gives faith its stamp of approval. James says: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work” (Jam 1:2-4). We glory in all that our enemies would use to harm us, for it must only serve to harm and destroy our sin, but to strengthen our hope of glory.

Beautiful circle: hope produces tribulations; then patience; from that, character; and from that, stronger hope. Christ has taken away my sin. God has bound me to Himself with a covenant of eternal love. He who does not lie has promised me eternal life from eternity.

Closing Prayer

Grant us, our God, sincere faith, and pour out Your love in our hearts by Your Holy Spirit. Let hope be strong and support us in tribulations, so that we emerge from them with a genuine stamp of approval, and give us at last the inheritance of glory.

Hymn

With Thee, my Savior, I will suffer
And through the world’s deep sorrow go;
Those who themselves in patience offer
In heav’n above true joys shall know;
You are our true Companion here
And grant eternal pleasures there.

In Thy Name, Lord, grant me to conquer
By vict’ry that Thou won for me!
And, when I die, be Thou my Anchor,
Thy death my certain Guarantee!
Come, gentle Jesus, Thou art mine;
Come when Thou wilt, and I am Thine.

Unknown: L 531:1.7 from L 652 Min Jesus ene er mit Nøie tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Wer weiss (ELH 483); alternate hymn: Praise God, this hour of sorrow ELH 475

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