Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday in Easter 7: The evangelical promise

Opening Sentence
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Commemoration: John Eliot
Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant John Eliot, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the native peoples of North America. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 89:1-18

Lessons: Joshua 1:1-9, Ephesians 3:1-13, Matthew 8:5-17

The Gospel proclaims repentance and the promise of grace and eternal life. The promise should be diligently distinguished from the Law. And although the Law has certain promises of its own, nevertheless, these differ from the unique promise of the Gospel. Moreover, the promises of the Law require the condition of perfect obedience as is said in the first commandment: "I will do good to those who love me" (cf. Deut. 5:10). But the evangelical promise--about remission of sins, justification, and the gift of eternal life--is gratuitous, offered on account of Christ, without a condition of our merits or our worthiness.

No human language is able to express the greatness of this benefit, which God imparts to us through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: with sin wiped out and death destroyed, we may enjoy the vision of God in eternal life, righteousness, and joy. The promise of this benefit is only divinely revealed, as John (1:18) says: "The Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared it to us." For although we are born with some knowledge of the Law, we certainly are not born with knowledge the Gospel. Human reason by itself by no means sees this will of God--that God would send His Son that he might become a sacrificial victim for the church, that God wants to remit sins gratis. These things lie far beyond the scope of human reason. Therefore dicta of the Law ought to be carefully distinguished from the evangelical promise.

Philip Melanchthon
Commentary on Romans

Sing Your Praise to the Lord