St. Paul clarifies clearly what is past and what is present. The Christians were slaves of sin. That’s history. They have been called and liberated by Christ to a new life in which they now willingly and voluntarily serve righteousness and divine goodness and purity. Before this they were pagans. Now they are Christians. The pagans in Greek and Roman times can generally be classified as slaves of sin. That was in that time. Now it’s better for them. They have been converted from a bad past to a better presence and future. They have left the bondage and captivity of sin to continue living in a new mode of serving righteousness, justice and good. Now they can pursue good in thinking, willing and doing – which they couldn’t do in the past. Now they are no longer forced to serve iniquity and godlessness. Rather they are liberated to freely serve the god-pleasing, righteousness and truly good works that serve society/community and please God too. That is why we also advocate and promote this significant and profound conversion from the old to the new, for the pagan to the Christian, from outside to inside the Church: It’s the way to go from death to life and from serving vanity and iniquity to serving lasting values, virtues and good in righteousness and purity!
O Lord, you have called us to you that we can now pursue this hearts desire to be yours now and forever from the very bottom of our heart. Oh, would we truly be yours. Oh, would we be totally free from evil’s domination. Compensate our poverty with your divine abundance, our failing with your success, our sinfulness with your grace and mercy. Amen.
Ah, why did I so late Thee know, Thee, lovelier than the sons of men! Ah, why did I no sooner go To Thee, the only ease in pain! Ashamed, I sigh, and deeply mourn, That I so late to Thee did turn.
In darkness willingly I strayed, I sought Thee, yet from Thee I roved; Far wide my wandering thoughts were spread, Thy creatures more than Thee I loved; And now if more at length I see, ’Tis through Thy light and comes from Thee.
I thank Thee, uncreated Sun, That Thy bright beams on me have shined; I thank Thee, who hast overthrown My foes, and healed my wounded mind; I thank Thee, whose enlivening voice Bids my freed heart in Thee rejoice.
Uphold me in the doubtful race, Nor suffer me again to stray; Strengthen my feet with steady pace Still to press forward in Thy way; My soul and flesh, O Lord of might, Fill, satiate, with Thy heavenly light. (Johann Scheffler, 1624-1677)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Wednesday after the seventh Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 267 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.