Thursday of the Third Week in Lent – March 12, 2015

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:8-10

Through surveys, thousands of Americans have been asked what they believe about how they get to heaven. The results are stunning. Almost half believe that they get to heaven by some good works on their own, either by keeping the commandments as “best they can” or by being a “good person.” A man asked Jesus once, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Can we ever do enough? How do we know if we do enough?

Now this is not to say that good works are not important. C.F.W. Walther said that, “Faith and works are like the light and heat of a candle; they cannot be separated.” In other words, God created you and prepared you for a life of good works, so that you should walk in them. Martin Luther said, “Good works are works which flow from faith and from the joy of heart that has come to us because we have forgiveness of sins through Christ.” Because Christ first loved us, we in turn love others. The motivation for works is always love, and never personal gain.

The Apostle Paul is quite clear, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing.” Praise be to God our Father that He loved us and sent His Son Jesus who would die on the cross for our sins. Jesus good work is the only one we should ever boast in. Jesus good work is the only thing we cling to and have faith in. For it is Jesus alone that saves you.

Prayer: Therefore my hope is in the Lord and not in my own merit; It rests upon His faithful Word to them of contrite spirit That he is merciful and just; This is my comfort and my trust. His help I wait with patience. (From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee, LSB 607:3)

This devotion was written by Reverend David C. Lingard, pastor at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Van Horne, IA.

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