July 19, 2022

The Best of the Portals of Prayer

Read: Romans 7:18-25

“Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”
2nd Corinthians 7:10

Sorrow Over Our Proneness to Sin

It is the work of God that we sorrow at all over our sins and weaknesses. Millions indeed sorrow with “worldly grief.” They know in their secret hearts that God is never mocked and that the wages of sin are always paid. But this produces no desire for godliness; it is secret terror, a “fearful expectation of judgement” [Hebrews 10:27]. This is death at work in life until life is swallowed up in death.
But we sorrow because of the sorrow we cause the heart of God, who has made us, loved us, redeemed us, been patient with us far beyond our deserving. It bows us down that we would thus treat God. And still, we sin. We despise ourselves for yielding to sin; yet we yield. We look back in sorrow; we look forward in near despair: “wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me?” [Romans 7:24]
But the very fact that we sorrow and struggle at all shows that we love God. Otherwise, there would be no struggle. Sin would reign in peace. Why, then, do we sin? We love God indeed, but because of our sinful flesh, we love ourselves still more. We need to love God much more. The important thing is that we do sorrow and do battle. Though we fail again and again, still we must not lose heart. Victory lies ahead if we confess our sins, week help again and again in Word and Sacrament to strengthen our faith, and by the gracious aid of the Holy Spirit, keep fighting sin.

Lord, give me the sorrow that works repentance. Amen.

July 19, 1940

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