Second Sunday after Trinity – Saturday
I, the Lord, thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments. —Exodus 20:5-6.
With these words God threatens to punish all that transgress His commandments. In proof of His earnestness and holy jealousy He points to His acts recorded in Bible history, which tells us that He punishes the iniquity of the fathers even upon the children unto the third and fourth generation when the children hated Him as their fathers had done.
But He promises mercy unto all that keep His commandments. And here, too, He points to Bible history, which shows that He has done good unto thousands of pious Israelites. Because of His threat we should fear His wrath, and not act contrary to His commandments. And because of His promise we should love and trust in Him, and willingly do according to His commandments.
But tell me, Christian, have the threats God utters the power to keep us from sin, so that we do not act contrary to His commandments? No, not beyond curbing certain outward displays of wickedness. And can we obtain His mercy by keeping His commandments? By no means. Sin too largely, too firmly and completely corrupts our human nature. Driven and drawn by the Holy Ghost, through the Gospel, we must flee to Christ, and daily lay hold upon the grace of God in Him for the forgiveness of sins. And then, then, moved by the Holy Ghost in faith, we must fear (respect) and love God, that we may shun sin and do according to His commandments. Then, then God looks upon us in Christ with eyes of mercy as upon His dear children, hiding His face from the many sins that still cling to us, and seeing only our keeping of His commandments by virtue of the imputed righteousness of Christ. And for the sake of the Redeemer, God is pleased with our service, although it is so imperfect, and shows mercy to us.
This is nothing but grace, pure grace, and grace only!
PRAYER – My Lord and Savior, here am I, a poor sinner, who has deserved nothing but wrath and punishment. But bestow on me that grace which Thou hast procured for me and promised to me. Forgive me my sins. Let me be and ever remain a child of God. Teach me by Thy Holy Spirit to walk, though ever so feebly, in the paths of Thy commandments. And be pleased with it according to Thy tender mercy, and bless me, and do good to me, O Jesus, for Thine own sake! Amen.
O God, Thou righteous, faithful Lord, I have not kept Thy holy Word.
But sinned, and oft offended Thee; Now I repent, it grieveth me.
Thou, Father, merciful and kind, No pleasure in my death dost find,
But strong desire doth in Thee burn, That I should unto Thee return.
Since Thou, dear Father, callest me, I, poor lost sinner, come to Thee.
Relying on Christ’s precious blood Which from His holy five wounds flowed.
I pray through Christ, Thine only Son, Who for my good here flesh put on;
Thy love to me let never fail; O’er justice let Thy grace prevail.
In mercy, Father, let Thy grace Through Jesus’ blood my sins efface;
Then I, the poor lost child, will be From all my sins forever free.
Grant that, according to Thy Word, I lead a godly life, O Lord,
And let me, after time is o’er, Inherit life forevermore
(ELHB) Hymn 424.