Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity – Wednesday
Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. – Revelation 2:10.
Dear Christian! If you were baptized in infancy, at that very moment the Holy Ghost kindled faith in your heart, and you received the grace of God procured for you by Christ. Hence there you were regenerated and made a child of God. Hence you, in fact, did yourself what your sponsors did for you with their mouths: you did renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways, and did pledge yourself to the Triune God, to be His own in life and death, in time and eternity.
Since that time this Word of our Lord applies to you: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Did you always remain faithful? Or, having fallen, did you return to your baptismal grace through faith in Christ? Mark well what God’s will and regulation is with respect to His baptized little children. As soon as possible they are to be nourished with the Word of God, diligently, daily, and properly, that they may remain faithful.
This is what Jesus instructed Peter to do when He told him: “Feed My lambs” (John 21:15). This the Holy Ghost admonishes the fathers to do, saying that they should bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). For this purpose, well-regulated Christian congregations have Sunday School for the children. To this same end our children receive special instruction for Confirmation. At Confirmation, which is a laudable custom of our Church, the children after due instruction, publicly, in the presence of the congregation, with their own mouths repeat the promise which once they made through their sponsors: To renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways, and to remain true to the Triune God, even unto death. And this baptismal vow, this confirmation vow, should endure throughout life.
Let him that reads this hear what the Savior says: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
PRAYER. – O Lord, gracious Trinity, who in my Baptism did regenerate me to be Thy child, I now repeat my vow that I will renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways, and will remain true to Thee unto death. To this end grant me the power of Thy Holy Spirit, working through Thy Word, O Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, my Savior, and finally give me the crown of life which Thou hast graciously promised me. Amen.
And I have vowed to fear and love Thee,
and to obey Thee, Lord, alone;
because the Holy Ghost did move me,
I dared to pledge myself Thine own,
renouncing sin to keep the faith,
and war with evil until death.
(Hymn 298, st. 3; TLH)