Fourth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday
Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. – Matthew 15:19.
Original sin, the depravity of our nature, produces what are called actual sins, that is to say, sins that are acted, done, carried into effect. By these actual sins are meant all transgressions of the divine Law, not only such as may be observed by our fellow-men, sinful words and deeds, but also all sinful thoughts, which are known to God and ourselves only, yes, also the sinful desires slumbering within us which we ourselves do not notice, which only the eye of God can detect.
Consider the text at the head of this lesson, and see what abominations arise from our heart. And, indeed, it cannot be otherwise. From a bad fountain only foul water will issue forth, and a corrupt tree will bring forth nothing but evil fruit. And not only do we do the wicked things forbidden in the Law of God, but we also fail to do the good things which we are commanded to do. We are totally depraved according to our old sinful flesh; within us there is a countless brood of sin.The more we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures, the more we realize this. Where there is nothing but darkness, the various shades of darkness, so to speak, are not distinguishable; but the brighter the light, the more pronounced the shadows will be.
What an awful delusion, then, to think that by the works of the Law, by the fulfillment of the Law, man might become righteous before God and obtain salvation! No, it is solely through faith in Christ, who fulfilled the Law in our stead perfectly and bore its curse for us, that we are justified, declared righteous by God, and obtain life everlasting.
PRAYER – Lord, most holy God, I confess that not only am I conceived and born in sin and therefore sinful from the very beginning of my existence, but that also knowingly and unknowingly I have daily and in numerous ways transgressed Thy commandments, and, therefore, surely have deserved Thy wrath and punishment in time and eternity. Nor can I help myself in the least or eliminate sin from my life. But since Thou, O gracious God, hast revealed to me in the Gospel that Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, is the propitiation for our sin and is our Righteousness, our Savior, I rely upon this Thy Gospel and pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, and to give me eternal life through grace in Him. O dear Father in heaven, also grant me, I implore Thee, Thy Holy Spirit, that henceforth I may turn away from sin, and be earnestly and sincerely intent upon serving Thee according to Thy Law. Amen.
My sins, O Lord, against me rise, I mourn them with contrition;
Grant, through Thy death and sacrifice, To me a full remission.
Lord, show before the Father’s throne That Thou didst for my sins atone;
So shall I from my load be freed. Thy Word I plead;
Keep me, O Lord, each hour of need.
Hymn 319, 2 (TLH)