Thursday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Reading: Romans 4:1-8, 13-17

“For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise void.”
– Romans 4:14

If the only way to inherit the kingdom of God is keeping the law, you and I have a problem.  Who among us has adhered to the law as God accounts such keeping, i.e. perfectly?  No one can!  Thus, as St. Paul says, the law brings wrath.  Without the law, we would not be declared “Guilty!”  Without the law, sin would not be known.  So we need the law, otherwise we might think that our sin is no big deal.     

The law convicts us, condemns us, and kills us.  You and I are pointed somewhere else to gain heaven.  From the first breaking of the law, Adam and Eve received the curse – the condemnation and consequences of sin.  But God was quick to add the promise of Jesus.  Turned from sin by God’s law, we now look to His promise in faith.  Without faith, the promise is not grasped, and one must rely on works.   

With faith in the promise fulfilled by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, you receive the gift of His righteousness – the perfection which makes you an heir by grace.  This Law and Gospel proclamation is for everyone to hear and receive by faith.  Through Word and Sacrament God gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist – righteousness and faith for you.   

Prayer: Thy grace alone, O God, to me can pardon speak; Thy power alone, O Son of God, can this sore bondage break (Not What These Hands Have Done, LSB 567:5).

This devotion was written by Rev. Mark Brase – Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran in Fairfield, IA.

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