First Sunday after Trinity – Sunday
Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it. – Luke 11:28.
The Lord Jesus says that the blessing of the Lord is not upon those who hear the Word only or upon those who keep the Word only, but upon those who do both.
Simply to hear the Word of God without keeping it is to be someone who, as St. James writes, “beholding his natural in a glass [in a mirror]; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James 1:23-24). The Word is heard, but not applied; it’s recognized and, just as quickly, forgotten. Like in the Parable of the Sower, the Word is heard, but it does not take root; it does not implant itself into the heart and produce fruit. Instead, it is either scooped away by the devil, or simply disregarded and rejected by the stony heart of the hearer. And because, in this instance, the use of the Word is superficial, the blessing of the Lord does not follow.
Others attempt to keep the Word without hearing it. People often try to accomplish the good deeds and the righteousness of works that are prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, but do so without having heard and digested the true Gospel message, which announces that God has forgiven the sins of the whole “world” (II Corinthians 5:19) and declared all sinners “righteous” (Romans 5:19 b) because He “laid on Him [on Christ, the Messiah] the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 b). No one can be a doer of the Law without first having “the righteousness of the Law” (Romans 8:4; see also verses 1-3) fulfilled in them by “the Lord, our righteousness [none other than Christ Jesus]” (Jeremiah 23:6), and receiving that perfect righteousness of Christ “through faith,” that precious “gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). “Without faith,” the writer to the Hebrews states, “It is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
The blessedness of which the Lord speaks is the blessedness of those who hear and heed the Word, those who believe its promises by the operation of the Spirit through that very Word, and those who keep that Word in their sanctified heart and life. For this reason, dear Christian, be both a hearer and a doer of the Lord’s holy and precious Word and you will be truly blessed, blessed with the presence and power of the Spirit working mightily through that Word, keeping you in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; and blessed with the assurance that you have been made “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15) as the free gift of your Triune God, “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Yes, “blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it.”
PRAYER – Almighty and most gracious God, I thank Thee that to all the world and to me Thou hast given Thy Word, which makes me wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Give me a ever greater measure of Thy Holy Spirit working through Thy Word, that I may gladly hear and learn Thy Word, read and study it daily, keep it in an honest, good, and believing heart, and enjoy now and forever the precious treasure of eternal salvation. Amen.
“How precious is the Book divine, by inspiration given;
bright as a lamp its doctrines shine, to guide our souls to heaven.
Its light, descending from above, illumes this world so drear;
displays a Savior’s boundless love, and brings His glories near.
It shows to man his wandering ways, and where his feet have trod;
and brings to view the matchless grace, of a forgiving God.
O’er all the straight and narrow way, its radiant beams are cast;
a light whose never weary ray, grows brightest at the last.
It sweetly cheers our drooping hearts, in this dark vale of tears;
life, light, and joy it still imparts, and quells our rising fears.
This lamp, though all the tedious night, of life, shall guide our way;
till we behold the clearer light, of an eternal day.”
(TLH) – Hymn 285, 1-6: