Based on Galatians 6:6-18
Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia is one of his most significant. St. Paul had brought the Gospel to these Christians in a region of what is now Turkey. After he had continued on, false apostles arrived and influenced the believers, convincing many that to be a true Christian, one must first be a true Jew, keeping Jewish laws and commandments, including circumcision for males. Paul’s epistle, then, is both a defense of the Gospel which he preached and a defense of his apostleship, called into question by the false teachers. The Epistle to the Galatians is a foundational book for all who would seek to understand and distinguish, properly, between Law and Gospel. Having made his arguments previously, Paul now continues his discussion of what life is to look like and be like for those justified by faith in Jesus Christ. And what does Paul say?
“And let us not grow weary of doing good,” the apostle writes with his own hand, in boldface type, all CAPS we would say. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith…It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised…that they may boast” of what they have caused you to do. “But far be it from me,” Paul says, “to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…for neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
This is the “rule” by which we are to walk, as those saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are to boast of nothing except the cross of Christ — as new creations, because of His death and resurrection. “And as for all who walk by [His] rule, peace and mercy be upon them,” Paul writes, “and upon the Israel of God.”
Prayer: O Lord God, let me not grow weary of doing good, and especially to those of the household of faith! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Lenten response: “Boast” to someone about the loving, saving cross of Christ today!
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
66:7 Before she goes into labor, she gives birth!
Before her contractions begin, she delivers a boy!
8Who has ever heard of such a thing?
Who has ever seen this?
Can a country be brought forth in one day?
Can a nation be born in a single moment?
Yet as soon as Zion goes into labor she gives birth to sons!
9Do I bring a baby to the birth opening and then not deliver it?”
asks the Lord.
“Or do I bring a baby to the point of delivery and then hold it back?”
asks your God.
10“Be happy for Jerusalem
and rejoice with her, all you who love her!
Share in her great joy,
all you who have mourned over her!
11For you will nurse from her satisfying breasts and be nourished;
you will feed with joy from her milk-filled breasts.”
12For this is what the Lord says:
“Look, I am ready to extend to her prosperity that will flow like a river,
the riches of nations will flow into her like a stream that floods its banks.
You will nurse from her breast and be carried at her side;
you will play on her knees.
13As a mother consoles a child,
so I will console you,
and you will be consoled over Jerusalem.”
14When you see this, you will be happy,
and you will be revived.
The Lord will reveal his power to his servants
and his anger to his enemies.
15For look, the Lord comes with fire;
his chariots come like a windstorm
to reveal his raging anger,
his battle cry, and his flaming arrows.
16For the Lord judges all humanity
with fire and his sword;
the Lord will kill many.
17“As for those who consecrate and ritually purify themselves so they can follow their leader and worship in the sacred orchards, those who eat the flesh of pigs and other disgusting creatures, like mice—they will all be destroyed together,” says the Lord. 18“I hate their deeds and thoughts! So I am coming to gather all the nations and ethnic groups; they will come and witness my splendor. 19I will perform a mighty act among them and then send some of those who remain to the nations—to Tarshish, Pul, Lud (known for its archers), Tubal, Javan, and to the distant coastlands that have not heard about me or seen my splendor. They will tell the nations of my splendor. 20They will bring back all your countrymen from all the nations as an offering to the Lord. They will bring them on horses, in chariots, in wagons, on mules, and on camels to my holy hill Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the Israelites bring offerings to the Lord’s temple in ritually pure containers. 21And I will choose some of them as priests and Levites,” says the Lord. 22“For just as the new heavens and the new earth I am about to make will remain standing before me,” says the Lord, “so your descendants and your name will remain. 23From one month to the next and from one Sabbath to the next, all people will come to worship me,” says the Lord. 24“They will go out and observe the corpses of those who rebelled against me, for the maggots that eat them will not die, and the fire that consumes them will not die out. All people will find the sight abhorrent.”(NET Bible)
56:1 For the music director, according to the yonath-elem-rekhoqim style; a prayer of David, written when the Philistines captured him in Gath.
Have mercy on me, O God, for men are attacking me.
All day long hostile enemies are tormenting me.
2Those who anticipate my defeat attack me all day long.
Indeed, many are fighting against me, O Exalted One.
3When I am afraid,
I trust in you.
4In God—I boast in his promise—
in God I trust; I am not afraid.
What can mere men do to me?
5All day long they cause me trouble;
they make a habit of plotting my demise.
6They stalk and lurk;
they watch my every step,
as they prepare to take my life.
7Because they are bent on violence, do not let them escape.
In your anger bring down the nations, O God.
8You keep track of my misery.
Put my tears in your leather container.
Are they not recorded in your scroll?
9My enemies will turn back when I cry out to you for help;
I know that God is on my side.
10In God—I boast in his promise—
in the Lord—I boast in his promise—
11in God I trust; I am not afraid.
What can mere men do to me?
12I am obligated to fulfill the vows I made to you, O God;
I will give you the thank offerings you deserve,
13when you deliver my life from death.
You keep my feet from stumbling,
so that I might serve God as I enjoy life.(NET Bible)
6:6 Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it. 7Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, 8because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.
11See what big letters I make as I write to you with my own hand!
12Those who want to make a good showing in external matters are trying to force you to be circumcised. They do so only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13For those who are circumcised do not obey the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised so that they can boast about your flesh. 14But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! 16And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God.
17From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.
18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Luther again speaks of the infallibility of Scripture in Contra malignum J. Eckii judicium M. Lutheri Defensio, which left the press on September 30, 1519. In the preface he refers to the statement of Augustine, “I have learned to ascribe this honor (namely the infallibility) only to books which are termed canonical, so that I confidently believe that not one of their authors erred,” and continues, “but the other authors, no matter how distinguished by great sanctity and teaching, I read in this way, that I do not regard them as true because they themselves judged in this wise but in so far as they could convince me through the authority of the canonical writings or other clear deductions.” (17)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.