Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. (1Co 15:1 NIV)
The gospel proclaims God’s big deeds of salvation. In it his grace of salvation for all people is revealed. If you want to be saved, you can’t find it in the Law given at Sinai nor in the pagan philosophies of Athens nor in the political power of Rome or in the religious offerings of India, but only at the cross and grave of Jesus Christ, the Lord. There is no salvation for us but that found in his vicarious death and victorious resurrection. This is the true center and hinge of all God’s miracles and wonders, his deeds of salvation, liberation and redemption.
Now in the application of this salvation all depends solely and exclusively on God’s giving. He is the one, who grants this gift freely and abundantly. He does this through his called servants – the apostles firstly and then later through the office of the ministry, which preaches the gospel purely and administers his sacraments according to his authoritative institution. They all received that, which filled their hands and hearts before they could hand it on to those around them.
Wherever God’s servants speak in his name, there he himself is at work efficaciously, there he is handing out his gifts of live and salvation. Whoever hears them, hears him and whoever despises them, despises him who sent and authorized them – the Holy Spirit himself, who does not bear despising or ridicule.
To take and receive these godly gifts rightly is a gift from God too and happens by grace alone. God works the effective reception of this gracious salvation through an inner sealing of this truth in a firm conviction which goes from strength to strength until it is finally victorious. This application and reception of God’s grace in Jesus Christ remains a mystery, which will only be manifest at the end in eternity.
We laud and praise you, merciful God and Father, that you have given us your grace through your dear Son Jesus Christ. Let us receive life and salvation through his death and resurrection so that we may not be distracted from it by the vile attempts of the evil enemy. Let your word remain the joy and comfort of our heart both in good and bad days until we come to laud and praise you from face to face in eternity. Amen.
1 Faith and truth and life bestowing, Open now the Scriptures, Lord, Seed to life eternal sowing, Scattered on the wind abroad. Let not hearts, Your Word receiving, Like a barren field be found, Choked with thorns and unbelieving, Shallow earth or stony ground.
2 May the Spirit’s pow’r unceasing Bring to life the hidden grain, daily in our hearts increasing, Bearing fruit that shall remain. So in Scripture, song, and story, Savior, may Your voice be heard. Till our eyes behold Your glory Give us ears to hear Your Word. (Timothy Dudley-Smith, *1926)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the eleventh Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 292 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.