Holy Spirit of God, let thy word become truth in our heart. Amen.
Romans 14, 7-13. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling- block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
The faithful do not belong to themselves, but wholly and entirely to the Lord. He died for us, and overcame sin and death; and his victory belongs to them that believe in him. Christ is eternal Lord of all things; and there is no restraint whatever upon his will. But he became man; and of his own free will he took upon himself the penalty and pain of sin and death in order to break these fetters. This he brought about, and united us with himself through baptism: and thus we are no more the bondmen of sin, but the freedmen of Christ, able to love him and live unto him of our whole heart. He who in unbelief lives without Christ is the slave of his own self-will, and lies when he boasts of his liberty. He, on the other hand, who believes in Christ is subject to him, and is therefore free. His heart obeys the law of love, and therefore has liberty; for his will is the will of the Lord. The believers are not, to be sure, entirely rid of their self-will, but it has been brought into subjection; they master it, and mortify it. Dear reader, do you live this life of liberty? Christ, the Son of God and the judge of all things, has of a truth redeemed you from the bondage of sin; and it is equally true and certain that through your baptism you have a right and access to the kingdom of love. It is likewise certain that the Spirit has the will to create faith in your soul; and on this everything depends. The grace is given you; let now your eye be open to see, and your hand to receive, the gift.
You are in the house of God, and the life is yours; you also have knowledge of it, and feel the need of it. Do you, then, let the Spirit enter your soul! — and the change will take place; you are set free from the devil’s witchcraft, and have liberty and a new life. These are not idle words; — blessed is he who learns this by experience!
Then we “live unto the Lord,” serve one another, and build his church.” As he is, so are we in this world.” Independent of all, and masters of all, we are the servants of all. In lowliness we esteem others better than ourselves; and we judge no man, but bear one another’s infirmities, and wash one another’s feet. When we die we die also “unto the Lord.” It is a death in his fellowship, and to his honor; we go to our home, and the brethren are strengthened in the faith. In this light we see one another, and walk together, and bend the knee with one another, and confess the glory of the Lord; until we all, the strong and the weak, perfected in love, stand before him on that day, not to be judged, but to receive our crown.
Lord Jesus, draw us to thee, unite us with thee, and give us thy life, in order that we may be one in thee, and may reveal thy glory to the world, and be without fear on the judgment day, to the glory of thy name. Amen.
O Son of God, we wait for thee,ELH 536, “O Son of God, We Wait for Thee”
We long for thine appearing,
We know thou sittest on the throne.
And we thy name are bearing.
Who trusts in thee, may joyful be,
And see thee, Lord, descending,
To bring us bliss unending.