Reflections: Saturday of the 12th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Introit for the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (Psalm 31:1, 3, 5; antiphon: Rev. 7:14b)
Daily Lectionary: 1 Kings 11:1-26; 2 Corinthians 6:1-18

We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 2 Corinthians 5 ends with beautiful Gospel words explaining how the Father has graciously reconciled us to Himself through Christ Jesus. Chapter 6 picks up with a warning not to receive that grace in vain. The Gospel is a precious gift from God, assuring us we are reconciled to God apart from anything we can do. It is all an unearned gift. But there is a right way to receive a gift and a wrong way.
The correct way is to show gratitude and appreciation, to thank and praise God for what He has done. The wrong way is to take the gift for granted or disregard it as nothing special. Paul warns the Corinthians, “Don’t receive the precious gifts of God that way, instead, cherish what you have been given. Show gratitude and honor for the One who has blessed you”

Paul goes on to talk about how he honors God for the grace he has received by faithfully carrying out the mission of the Church. He takes seriously the notion that the time is limited and the time is now to proclaim the Gospel. He also makes sure he is not a stumbling block or obstacle for anyone coming to Christ. Paul knows that he cannot cause anyone’s salvation (that is the Holy Spirit’s work) but he also knows that a scandalous life on his part will hinder the Spirit’s work.

In the last section, Paul warns the Corinthians: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Note that Paul is not saying, “Have nothing to do with unbelievers.” Christians are to be salt and light to the world. We are to interact with unbelievers, especially as we share the Good News of Jesus. Yet, he is cautioning Christians against collaborating with unbelievers in a way that will cause Christians to be influenced toward unbelief.

Being ungrateful and letting ourselves be influenced by those who don’t believe in Christ are ways we often receive God’s gifts in vain. Thanks be to God that He renews our faith with the gifts of His pulpit and altar, and keeps us in our baptismal grace unto eternity. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Christ the eternal Lord. Whose promise hear we claim, Whose gifts of grace are freely poured On all who name Your name; With thankfulness and praise We stand before Your throne, Intent to serve You all our days And make Your glory known. (“Christ the Eternal Lord” LSB 829, st.1)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch