Devotion 448 – Wednesday of Pentecost 26

Preserve me, O God, for I entrust myself to You. You are my Lord; I have nothing good but You.

Text: First John 5:18-21

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Devotion

When Saint John says: “Whoever is born of God does not sin,” and in another place: “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father” (1Jo 2:1; compare 1:8), then we understand that He means that the believers do not live ungodly lives, but walk in the truth, flee sin, and keep God’s commandments, but still without being sinless. If anyone says he is without sin, the truth is not in him (1:8). This is just as certain as it is certain that if anyone is not cleansed, he is not a true child of God (3:3). The whole world lies in wickedness, so the hearts of all unregenerate people are ruled by the devil. But the children of God are set free, so that he can only tempt them. They watch and guard themselves, and the Holy Spirit leads them, warns them, and chastens them, so that “the wicked one does not touch them.” As the children of the world are in the liar, God’s children are in “Him who is true.” How frightfully seriously the Apostle speaks, but likewise how gloriously! “The whole world lies in wickedness, but we are in Him who is true,” we are in the Lord. “The god of this world has blinded the mind of unbelievers” (2Co 4:4), but to us “God’s Son has given understanding to know the true God, Jesus Christ.” Here he says distinctly that Jesus is the true God. Scripture couldn’t speak more clearly about Christ’s deity. Unbelievers deny Christ, the true God, and think “there is no devil. They are lords. They are in God, for the whole world is God.”

But we know that sin is not from God, and we know that everyone who serves sin is a slave of the devil. We know that Jesus Christ has freed us from the devil, and we know that “everyone who is of God and in God does not sin.” “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” So the Apostle closes his letter. Be sure of your victory, yet always vigilant! Here he presents a distinction between conflict and danger. Let the world keep their idols – clay idols, gold idols, and intellectual idols! Don’t receive the mark of the beast, but bear the cross and follow Christ!

Closing Prayer

Faithful Savior, assure us that the wicked one shall not touch us, and make us watchful and faithful always and everywhere to our last hour. You know that we are easily deceived by the enticing idols, but we entrust ourselves to You. O do not reject us, and never let our eyes be darkened, but always see You more clearly. Amen.

Hymn

I worry not, although I may
See all the world soon pass away,
Nor fear the world’s fierce swaying;
In air and sea and on the earth
I will not dread e’en poison death;
Jesus my way’s displaying
And for my good is praying.

For by God’s Spirit I am sealed,
Safe in His hands; He is my Shield;
Inscribed there by His favor;
For me He never can forget,
This I believe and know still yet
That He will be my Savior;
My faith shall never waver.

Meanwhile on guard I still must stand,
With needed weapons close at hand
‘Gainst Satan, sin, and danger
Until my final enemy
By Jesus’ death defeated be
And death threatens no longer,
For Jesus is still stronger.

Kingo: O kjære Sjæl frygt aldrig mer L 558:2.3.5 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Om Himmeriges Rige (ELH 586); alternate hymn: The world is very evil ELH 534:2.10.14

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