St. Paul had described the enemies of Christ’s cross as having their mind set on earthly things. Here now he describes the Christians who have their citizenship in heaven. Their thoughts, being, home and destiny are in heaven. The apostle clings to the cross of Christ as the sole source of salvation even though he might loose all else including his status, property and office amongst his fellow-men, his countrymen, the Jews. He has a citizenship in God’s eternal metropolis, the heavenly Jerusalem. This is where he belongs and that’s where he is on the way to. To this heavenly dwelling every Christian is striving to get – even as he is still under the cross here. He is void of all own righteousness and still nurtures the hope of eternal possessions as one, who is gifted with the foreign righteousness of Christ and has inherited all that belongs to the Prince of Peace. He is mortified to the things of this time and world, but vitalized by the Spiritual and eternal. Thus he is exemplary in spiritual poverty and yet in spiritual wealth; in having nothing and still having all, in humility while being proud. My dear brothers, I am convinced, that the example of the apostle is conducive for discipleship and faithful following – even if only few would follow suit indeed. Looking at our daily experience, we find the horrible attraction godless examples exert, whereas far too few follow the beacons of holiness and sanctity. Still the followers of the apostles anticipate confidently the glorious return of their Lord Jesus Christ. That is what they hope for in this life – even when dying – and this hope does not put to shame.
Faithful Lord Jesus Christ! You have promised us our home in heaven. Grant that even here we are quite at home in your presence and live accordingly. Hold us by your mighty hand as you lead us homeward bound to the dwellings of our Father, where we’ll rejoice in joy and blessed being in your sight forever. Amen. (Hermann Bezzel)
Christ is surely coming Bringing His reward, Alpha and Omega, First and Last and Lord: Root and stem of David, Brilliant Morning Star: Meet your Judge and Saviour, Nations near and far!
See the holy city! There they enter in, All by Christ made holy, Washed from ev’ry sin: Thirsty ones, desiring All he loves to give, Come for living water, Freely drink, and live!
Grace be with God’s people! Praise His holy name! Father, Son, and Spirit, Evermore the same; Hear the certain promise From the eternal home: “Surely I come quickly! Come, Lord Jesus, come!” (Christopher M. Idle b 1938)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the twenty third Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 381 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.