Herrenhuter readings for Monday, the 12th January 2015

Noah's Ark, Italianate mural painting, mid 16th century studiolo

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Gen 6:8 KJV)

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved. (Act 15:11 KJV)

The story of Noah is remarkable. Today’s verse highlights the fact that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. That’s how people are saved from sin, death and the devil. That’s how they get through the worst calamity. That’s the crucial difference between life and death. This divine grace chose Noah and his family, elected and called them to build the massive ark and survive the deluge together with all those animals big and small.

The godly grace is a characterized by the godly favour and mercy, which does not depend on our merit or worthiness, but rather solely on God’s willingness to forgive and cover up our iniquity, sinfulness and warped being. This grace is not so much a quality or gift shared with us, transforming and deifying us, but rather it’s God’s favour and positive inclination towards us – no longer holding our wrongful being and doing against us, but rather forgiving, covering up and absolving us from that, which would otherwise count so heavily against us and which the devil as the main accuser, but also our own conscience and the unbelieving world never tire to magnify in our evaluation of ourselves, in our hearts and souls and in our self-esteem to terrify us, shame us and tempt us to rather run and hide from the only one, who could and can and has saved us: Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who bore all our sin once and for all, so that we would be free and be at peace with God now and forever.

By this grace Noah was saved – just like all the saints of old – and we too build on this grace of Jesus Christ alone to get us through the final judgement and into the heavenly kingdom to share the eternal blessings in the presence of the triune God without end. Our Lord has shared many examples of this overriding and saving grace covering up the multitude of our sins, coping effectively with our miserable, poor and truthful status of lost and helpless creatures by forgiveness of all that can be held against us legally and by the letter of the infallible law of God and declaring us free and in God’s favour and therefore at peace amidst all tribulation and hardship. Just think of the Lost Son being restored by the grace of his Father (Lk 15); the tax collector praying: “Kyrie eleison!” (Lord have mercy on me a poor, miserable sinner!) in the temple and returning home forgiven; Zacchaeus receiving Christ into his home and thus experiencing forgiveness, life and salvation; the eunuch being baptized on the way home by St.Philipp and going his way joyfully and at peace with God etc etc.

That forgiving grace of our Lord and Saviour is the very firm foundation of our faith, hope and love. It’s the framework of our life and the sustaining force in our Christian living – now and always. Amen.

By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless;
My soul, believe and doubt it not.
Why stagger at this word of promise?
Has Scripture ever falsehood taught?
No; then this word must true remain;
By grace you too will life obtain.

By grace God’s Son, our only Savior,
Came down to earth to bear our sin.
Was it because of your own merit
That Jesus died your soul to win?
No, it was grace, and grace alone,
That brought him from his heavenly throne.

By grace! This ground of faith is certain;
As long as God is true, it stands.
What saints have penned by inspiration,
What in his word our God commands,
Our faith in what our God has done
Depends on grace – grace through his Son.

By grace to timid hearts that tremble,
In tribulation’s furnace tried,
By grace, in spite of fear and trouble,
The Father’s heart is open wide.
Where could I help and strength secure
If grace were not my anchor sure?

By grace! On this I’ll rest when dying;
In Jesus’ promise I rejoice;
For though I know my heart’s condition,
I also know my Savior’s voice.
My heart is glad, all grief has flown
Since I am saved by grace alone.

Hymn # 351 from Lutheran Worship Author: Korneluis Heinrich Dretzel
Tune: O Dass Ich Tausend Zungen Hatte 1st Published in: 1742

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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