Whoever recognizes his responsibility to obey the law, but also his own weakness to fulfill it; whoever therefore accepts his own liability and worthiness to suffer the curse expressed by the law over all trespassers; whoever is unable to escape this curse and without strength for holy living; whoever is continuously heavily burdened, weighed down and troubled by this thus experiences the fearful condition of people under the law. Whoever recognizes the legal demands as responsibility and duty, follows them with passion and joy, but is not disheartened by any weakness, not put off by stumbling nor gives up his faith when he falls; whoever rejoices in good, irrespective of whether he’s successful in it or not; whoever praises the Lord for his grace and goodness if he prospers and succeeds, but also sticks to the good even if he does not; whoever is pushed by every failure to remorse and repentance, but also to greater zeal and ardor; who is not afraid punishment, because it was carried and exonerated by the Lord Jesus Christ, but is much more filled by love towards God – he is no longer under the law, but free of its coercion and curse. Oh, wouldn’t it be a blessed situation if even on earth we would not be subject to both these conditions of being under the law on the one side and free on the other too. Yet now our souls are drawn back and forth between fear and peace so that we can only confess: “The Goodness of the Lord that we have not perished!”
Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us with your help and comfort of your gracious presence as we struggle against the coercion and fear of the law. Wherever in your garden a broken reed praises you and a glowing wick gives thanks to you in your house, there spare the lowly plant and let also the lowly light find your pleasure. Comfort us with your gracious presence in our last hour and let us come from death to life. Amen.
No strength of ours can match his might! We would be lost, rejected. But now the right man comes to fight, by God himself elected. And who may this be? Christ Jesus is He. The mighty God’s son and with the Father one. He holds the field for ever. (Dr. Martin Luther)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Tuesday after the fourteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 315 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.