Ninth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday
I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. – II Timothy 1:12.
We have heard so much about believing. What is meant by believing?
In order to believe in God through Christ Jesus, our Lord, it is necessary, first, to have a knowledge of the Gospel. One must be able to say: “I know whom I have believed.” For “how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14). And then one must accept the Gospel as true. He that imagines the Gospel to be a lie naturally does not have saving faith. “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).
But, Christian, the devils surely have a knowledge of the Gospel, and they also hold it to be true; so they believe, in that sense. “The devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). Of course, the devils do not have saving faith. Therefore the third and foremost, the most essential part of faith is trust in God’s grace through Christ Jesus, as set forth in the Gospel.
Believing in God, as a true Christian does, means having confidence in that God whom the blessed Gospel has taught us to know. If you can say: “I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (the day when you meet the Lord); if you can say: I know God from the Gospel; I know His grace which is in Christ Jesus, my Lord; I know what by grace, through Christ, He will keep for me (the salvation of my soul, which I have committed to Him), and am persuaded that He shall on that great day save me, a poor sinner, – then you truly believe.
May God give you such faith and keep you in such faith by grace, through His Word and Holy Spirit!
PRAYER – I thank Thee, O Lord, that through Thy Word Thou hast plainly revealed Thy divine majesty and Thy gracious will toward me, a sinner, as well as what Thy great mercy has prompted Thee to do for my salvation, even redeeming and justifying the whole world. Enlighten me, I pray Thee, with Thy Holy Spirit working through Thy Word, that I may firmly trust in Thy bountiful grace, relying and depending upon it in life and death, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, my only Savior. Amen.
Abiding, steadfast, firm, and sure
The teachings of the Word endure.
Blest he who trusts this steadfast Word;
His anchor holds in Christ, the Lord.
Hymn 290, 4. (TLH)