[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
– Saturday –
Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall. — I Corinthians 10:12
Many who were once confirmed at the Lord’s altar forsook Him and His Word and now worship the idols of this present world. The chief cause of this backsliding on the part of those who thus broke their confirmation vow is this: Self-confidence and spiritual complacency. They are not much concerned about their immortal soul or they would look to the only source of spiritual strength and grow in grace and spiritual knowledge (II Peter 3:18). They may have looked upon their confirmation as some kind of festivity, as a kind of “graduation day” from Christian education, their only concern at the time being their examination before the congregation. When that “ordeal” was over, they had no further cares; and they put their Catechism on the bookshelf as something to be henceforth ignored and disregarded.
Others may have regarded the day of their confirmation with greater seriousness. Their hearts may indeed have burned with love for Christ Crucified and for the full truth of His Word, and for His sake they hated sin and worldliness. But they depreciated the thought, even the possibility, that they should ever “fall from [their] own steadfastness” (II Peter 3:17). They thought themselves equal to any temptation; and continued growth in grace and in the doctrines of God’s Word did not strike them as a necessity. Why not? They thought that they were “standing” tall and steadfast on the spiritual battlefield, and they relied upon their own strength and reason. In short, they trusted in themselves (Psalm 118:8).
Beware of relying upon your own wisdom and power in a spirit of conceited self-confidence! (Proverbs 16:18). Whoever trusts in himself is half lost already. Powerful and treacherous temptations are round about you, and your sinful flesh is a tempter within you. The spirit or New Man, indeed, is willing; but the flesh is, oh, so weak (Matthew 26:41)! You are now believers by virtue of the Holy Spirit’s work in you through the Gospel; but be not deceived! It is the same Gospel through which He strengthens and preserves in you faith unto salvation (I Peter 1:5; Romans 1:16). It is and ever will be “the One Thing needful.” Where grace has exerted its power, the wickedness of the fleshly heart is sure to assert itself more powerfully than ever (Jeremiah 17:7-9; Romans 7:22-23). Where one devil has been driven out, seven will try to reenter and dwell there (Matthew 12:43-45). You will not live a minute in which Satan is not lying in wait for you (I Peter 5:8). He was able to persuade our first parents when they were still in the state of innocence to disobey God (Genesis 3:1-6), to turn King David into an adulterer and murderer (II Samuel 12:9) and King Solomon to follow after other gods (I Kings 11:1-13), one disciple of Christ into a traitor (Matthew 27:3), another to curse and to swear in denial of Him (Mark 14:71). Left to your own imagined strength, you will have lost the battle. Wield the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17b) which alone will enable you to “resist [Satan] steadfast in the faith” (I Peter 5:9a).
Prayer — Almighty God, merciful Father, Thou knowest that the devil, the world, and my sinful flesh have as their aim to deceive me and seduce me into disbelief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Enable me with the sword of Thy Spirit to put them to flight and by the strength that it affords to resist them steadfast in the faith, so that, though I be assailed by them, I may finally overcome them and obtain the victory for Jesus’ my Savior’s sake. Amen.
Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 3:1-18
1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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