He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Co 1:8 NIV)
The Church in Corinth was rich in spiritual gifts and blessings. Their joy was to be complete and fulfilled at the return of their Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Could this joyful anticipation be lost? Or is our spiritual condition such, that we face no danger of loss or disruption of such hopeful expectation? Is not even our most ardent hope in danger of withering like the green pastures that receive no rain or invigorating dew? Off course these are just rhetorical questions. That is why even the most blessed and happy Christian takes good care to confirm and solidify his gracious calling. Everybody who has not reached the final destination can fall victim to fear and anxiety, despair and loss of faith. That is why we seek further and look for the wonderful gift of permanence and endurance. This coincides entirely with the endurance of our ongoing repentance, faith and sanctification and therefore on our spiritual condition by God’s grace and calling. As we look forward to his glorious coming, we also focus on him as the author and perfector of our faith – throughout the various stages of our life as we move closer and closer to him and our final destination – meeting him face to face. On his behalf and in his stead the holy Apostle St. Paul comforts and strengthens us and our Christian faith and hope: The triune God will keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh merciful Lord, our heavenly God and Father, we humbly pray in the name of our most gracious savior Jesus Christ: Strengthen and keep our weak faith, prevent our hope from fading and strengthen our love for you and all people as we wait for your glorious return to judge the living and the dead. Grant in your goodness that we will be found faithful. Amen. (Arper-Zillessen)
Preserve your Word, O Savior, To us this latter day, And let your kingdom flourish; Enlarge your Church, we pray. Oh, keep our faith from failing; Keep hope’s bright star aglow. Let nothing from truth turn us While living here below.
Preserve your Word and preaching. The truth that makes us whole, The mirror of your glory, The power that saves the soul. Oh, may this living water, This dew of heavenly grace, Sustain us while here living Until we see your face. (Andreas Gryphius, 1616-1664 tr William J. Schaefer, 1891-1976)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the eighteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 346 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.