Devotions

Thursday of the Ninth Week after Trinity

Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

Daily Lectionary: 2 Samuel 7:18-20; 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:16

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The apostle Paul was a super-religious guy in his previous life. We also know him as Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee of Pharisees. He had his religious life all neatly packaged up, ready to give to God with the expectation that God would reward him for his good efforts and works. Paul would learn, in baptismal wonder, that such ideas were foolish (Acts 9). Salvation does not rest in any human. It is a gift granted for the sake of the death and life of Jesus alone.

It seems like Paul is quoting a proverb he surely had memorized in his Pharisee days: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Some in the church at Corinth prided themselves on their own super religiosity and spiritual strength. They should be careful, Paul warns, not to fall from grace. That is a good warning for us as well. It keeps us from centering our life of faith on us instead of the One who really makes it all possible. It works repentance in us and moves us back to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Along with Paul's warning, he adds a beautiful word of promise: We will not be tested beyond our God-given capacity. When faced with trials, we can count on God's faithfulness. "God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

God remains faithful to the promise He made to you in Baptism. He will be with you always (Matthew 28:20). He has joined you to Jesus, the One who overcame every temptation and trial by His perfect obedience and death. The resurrected Jesus is there with forgiveness and mercy when you do fall. With every trial He will give you strength to endure, and will, in His own time, create the "way out"! In Christ, there is no need to stand on anything but His promise! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Why should cross and trial grieve me? Christ is near with His cheer; never will He leave me. Who can rob me of this heaven that God's Son for me won when His life was given? ("Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me" LSB 756, st.1)