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 tell 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 too 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, moved by the Holy Ghost in faith, working through His Word, we must fear (respect) and love God, that we may shun sin and do according to His commandments. Then, God looks upon us, in Christ, with eyes of mercy, as upon His dear children, continually 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, continue to bestow on me that grace which Thou hast procured for me and promised to me. Continually assure me of Thy forgiveness of my sins. Help me to be and ever to remain a child of God. Continue to teach me by Thy Holy Spirit, working through Thy Word, to walk, though ever so feebly, in the paths of Thy commandments. And continually be pleased with it (my walk) according to Thy tender mercy, and bless me, and do good to me, O Jesus, for Thine own sake! Amen.


Savior, I follow on, guided by Thee,

seeing not yet the hand, that leadeth me;

hushed be my heart and still, fear I no further ill;

only to meet Thy will, my will shall be.

Savior, I long to walk, closer with Thee;

led by Thy guiding hand, ever to be;

constantly near Thy side, quickened and purified;

living for Him who died, freely for me.

(Hymn 422, st. 1 and 4; TLH)

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