Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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March 13 – The Way Of Wisdom

“Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” Proverbs 23:19-21

Devotional Thought For The Day

While our salvation has nothing to do with our good works – “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” [Eph. 2:8,9], nonetheless good works, piety, and holiness, are quite important. Again, our salvation is in no respect dependent upon our good works of love, for “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy” [Tit. 3:5]; yet we should consider carefully God’s encouragement to live wisely, in keeping with His Word. I’ll say it one more time: our works and piety and decency of life have nothing to do with our being justified, declared righteous by God Himself, and our salvation, for “we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” [Rom. 3:28]; and yet our dear Savior and Lord, in His own Word, constantly urges and encourages us to live in love [consistent with the Ten Commandments] and to be abundantly fruitful in good works.

The foolish hear the words of this proverb and immediately forget [if they ever understood] that we are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith which He has given us by His Word, and that this is not our own doing but entirely the gift of God. They immediately start clucking that this is God’s Word, that we must do good works in order to be saved. But God’s Word first encourages us to wisdom, to direct our hearts to the “way,” and we know Who this “Way” is: it is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, Who promises that whoever believes in Him has eternal life and salvation, and will not come into condemnation, but has passed from death to life – He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” the only Way by which we come to the Father. [Jn. 1:29; Jn. 3:16,36; Jn. 5:24; Jn. 14:6] This is wisdom and life, to know the heart of God, His gracious mercy and forgiveness, and to rest ourselves completely in His love through total faith and trust in Him. Without this wisdom there is no good, nothing proper or right, absolutely no good works. So let us make certain that we get the foundation right – or the house and all that we build will be utterly useless, worthless, and destroyed.

Still, good works are important and necessary – not for salvation, or to establish a basis for relationship with God, but for other reasons. First, because they are good, they reflect God’s being [which is love], and so they are consistent with His cosmic will for human life. Second, simply because He commands them – He is God, our Creator, Master, and Lord, remember? Third, because our neighbors deserve them – just as we have the right to expect just, decent, and loving behavior from others.  Fourth, because those who know and believe God’s love cannot help but be moved to love others and do good to them. Fifth, because there are natural consequences that follow wickedness, sin, idolatry, impenitence, and especially unbelief. All of this is also the wisdom of God, clearly presented in His holy and infallible Word. So we must understand: “the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” God’s Word is truth, so this warning is also absolutely true, and we have witnessed it with our own eyes. Likewise, there are numerous other warnings as to the natural consequences of sin, especially devotion to sin, and the consequences of allowing good things – like meat and drink – to enslave us.

None of this would be difficult to understand were it not for our sinful nature, and the sly and deceitful lying of the devil [often through the tongues of human beings]. None of this would be difficult to fully invest ourselves in, and to accomplish, were it not for our sinful nature. So let us consider how absolutely essential God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love truly are – that we cannot save ourselves, but that He has saved us, thanks and praise be to Him!  Let us also consider how dependent we are upon Him to be extricated from this kind of slavery to sin and unbelief – that He is the Vine, we the branches. If we remain in Him we will bear much fruit – which God has already prepared for us to bear; but that apart from Him we can do nothing. [John 15:5] May God grant that we heed His Word, that we be wise in faith, and that our lives be lived to Him, bringing Him glory and honor!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Heavenly Father, our hearts and minds are inclined always to foolishness, rebellion, and delusion. You alone can deliver us from this darkness and slavery to evil. Make us Your own wise children, through Your blessed Word, that we rejoice in Your salvation by faith, and that we heed Your blessed instructions for a truly good life. Thank You for all the blessings of Your love. Amen.