[Editor’s note: C.M Zorn only wrote devotions for twenty-four Trinity Sundays. This week’s daily devotions are specially selected devotions taken from F.E. Pasche’s Daily Bread, CPH. 1926. We will resume with C.M. Zorn’s devotions on Sunday November 29th, the First Sunday in Advent.]
Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity
– Friday –
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
— I John 2:15-16
“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). According to the Word of God, friendship with the world is idolatry. The first element of this idolatry, of worldliness, is the “lust of the flesh.” “In my flesh dwelleth no good thing,” writes Paul in Romans 7:18. Its sinful desires run contrary to the Word and will of God, and would have us do likewise — to seek happiness in self-gratification by following our sinful impulses and desires and doing those things which should not be once named among believers (Ephesians 5:3-4).
The second element in worldliness is the “lust of the eyes.” Satan uses our eyes as his tool to focus our attention upon things which have been forbidden by God. He used Eve’s eyes to see the forbidden fruit as “good,” easy to look at, and “to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6); but it was a deception and seduction. Sexually suggestive and even explicit advertising today tempts us by means of our “eyes” to look at and long for things which destroy saving faith (Matthew 5:28; Ephesians 5:5) and “drown men in destruction and perdition” (I Timothy 6:9). And the world’s slogan, “Look, but don’t touch,” only increases the deception that there is no harm in it.
The third element in worldly idolatry is the “pride of life.” This means the seeking of happiness in the praise of men, in honors bestowed by men, and in arrogance that sets itself against the Lord. We as God’s children should seek satisfaction solely in that which God gives us and has promised us in His Word, and true joy in walking “in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3; Galatians 5:25). Jesus said to His disciples (and of course also to us): “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19); indeed, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). St. Paul exhorts us: “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), because, as Jesus says: “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon,” that is, materialism, the god of this world (Matthew 6:24b); such dual service is idolatry. James writes: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, …to keep himself unspotted from the world.” There is nothing uncertain about these statements. They declare that there is and always will be a clear line of separation between the people of God and the children of the world (cf. Joshua 24:15). Ignoring it jeopardizes our souls! “Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing!” (II Corinthians 6:17).
Prayer — O Father of all grace and mercy, preserve me from the evil influences of this wicked world, from “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.” Keep me from establishing friendships with evil associates who, Thy Word says, “corrupt good morals” (I Corinthians 15:33). When the devil, served by the temptations of the wicked, try to deceive me and seduce me into misbelief, despair and other great shame and vice (Luther), keep me from consenting to and following in their ways, and guard my feet from their paths. O Lord, Thou hast hitherto reared me as a father does his son; grant me grace to walk in Thy ways to the glory of Thy grace. Amen.
Hymn 446, 3 and 5:
1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law toher husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another,even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin wasdead.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
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