Third Sunday after Trinity – Monday
Enter not into judgment with Thy servants; for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified. – Psalm 143:2.
Is it true that all men, without exception, have deserved death by their transgression of the divine Law? And is it true that all men, without exception, can receive eternal life only through the free grace and gift of God? Can no man keep God’s commandments as He would have us keep them? Can no man stand before the judgment seat of God?
Inspired by the Holy Ghost, David says to God: “Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified.” And he furthermore says: “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside; they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:2-3). No, “there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
Natural man, man as he is by nature since the Fall, cannot keep the Law of God, no, not in the least; for in all that he does the heart is lacking the love of God; his best works are not done to please God; they are as an empty shell without the kernel. And the regenerate Christian, who, by the working of the Holy Ghost through the Word, has a partial renewal of God’s image (the new man), can fulfill the Law of God only imperfectly, because sin still clings to him (in the old man).
Regenerate Paul says by inspiration of the Holy Ghost: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12). And he says: “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18). It is certain: Every man deserves death because of his sin, and can only receive eternal life through the free grace of God in Christ Jesus, purely as a gift unearned by the sinner.
PRAYER – Holy God, I accuse myself, and I humbly confess that, by sinning against Thee, I have deserved death, and daily deserve it. But I confidently pray, as Thou hast taught me to pray: “Enter not into judgment with Thy servant.” And I rely upon Thy grace, promised me in the Gospel, in which Thou hast pledged forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation to me for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Lord, Thee I seek. I merit naught;
yet pity and restore me.
Just God, be not Thy wrath my lot;
Thy Son hath suffered for me.
(Hymn 317, st. 3; TLH)