Löhe on Romans 6,19

serving with joyJust as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. (Rom 6:19 NIV)

In apostolic times the entire population around the Mediterranean See could be divided into slaves and free men. This distinction between liberty and slavery was one of the most important determinations of human life at that time – if not the most decisive. So the apostle takes up a very common fact of life and applies it to the theological discourse that he’s busy with and uses it to explain the fundamental categories of sin and righteousness. These two distinctions also describe humanity in two basic ways and people belong into either of these two different groups and camps. All people are either under sin or under righteousness. There is no middle ground or a place that is exempt from these definitions. We are either servants of sin or of righteousness. It is possible that somebody moves from one category to the other – even back and forth. Jesus Christ is the liberator and saviour, who has opened the door of sin so that people caught up in its darkness and shadow of death would be forgiven and released to enter his righteousness in joy and peace. However whoever is not willing to serve him in righteousness and prefers the godless evil over and above the godly life, can return to the old ways of destruction and futility that follows a sinful life. May the living God prevent that by his grace and mercy + keep us serving him in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.

Lord, save us from the tyranny of darkness and smash the fetters of sins, that we become your servants and thus truly free men and children of righteousness, light and bliss. Help us also to remain in you – o faithful saviour – until we reach the ultimate freedom in your heavenly realms before your eternal throne. Amen.

1. We know that Christ is raised and dies no more. Embraced by death, he broke its fearful hold, and our despair he turned to blazing joy. Alleluia!

2. We share by water in his saving death. Reborn, we share with him an Easter life as living members of our Savior Christ. Alleluia!

3. The God of splendor clothes the Son with life. The Spirit’s fission shakes the church of God. Baptized, we live with God the Three-in-One. Alleluia!

4. A new creation comes to life and grows as Christ’s new body takes on flesh and blood. The universe, restored and whole, will sing: Alleluia! Text: John Brownlow Geyer (b. 1932)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the seventh Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 264 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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