By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1Co 15:2 NIV)
Life is serious – und our sojourn through it is plastered with choices. The apostle indicates the troubling possibility that we have accepted his preached word, but still do not retain it, but rather loose it. Then we would have believed in vain.
We can’t therefore be content if we believed earlier on, but rather should strive to keep connected all along. We are to persevere in the Christian faith going through good and bad stretches – even through the troubled last times – until we at last come to see, what we believed and our struggles finally are caught up in ongoing peace and everlasting rest. This only happens by the grace of the living God – and that is good like that. It’s the best that this eternal salvation depends on him. He gives, retains and completes it. Faith and perseverance in it are not such a struggle because of some godly limitations or fault in God, but rather because of our sin and unfaithfulness. Dear Christian friend remember that and fear your own culpability. Flee from yourself into God’s most faithful hands. He will help and he will carry you home – for his own sake!
Lord God heavenly Father! Promote the good work that you have started in us. Let us grow richer in all knowledge and experience, so that we will be more and more competent to test what your will is in all life’s situations and that we will be found blameless when your Son Jesus Christ comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. Help us in all temptations and afflictions to stand firm and faithful. If we stumble and fall, then catch and support us and let us stand and walk upright once more. You are the God, who helps us. You wait on us and we are fixed on you. Don’t remember our sins and iniquities, but rather remember your great mercy. As we struggle, fight and combat fill us with your mercy and there in victory with joy and happiness. Amen.
Fight the good fight with all thy might; Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right; Lay hold on life, and it shall be Thy joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace, Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face; Life with its way before us lies, Christ is the Path, and Christ the Prize.
Cast care aside, upon thy Guide, Lean, and His mercy will provide; Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove Christ is its Life, and Christ its Love.
Faint not nor fear, His arms are near, He changeth not, and thou art dear. Only believe, and thou shalt see That Christ is all in all to thee. (John S.B. Monsell, 1811-1875)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the eleventh Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 293 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.