St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. – 2 Timothy 1:12

One who isn’t sure if he has true faith or rest in the grace of God is living a very miserable life. Sadly, many live this way — unsure and insecure, and many have no desire to resolve the matter one way or the other. They are reluctantly willing to accept damnation when their day comes, because for whatever reason — be it because of their own stubbornness or because of society or because of sins of which they’re unwilling to part.

It is frightening not to know our standing before God, because He is our judge. A person who does not know for sure of the divine grace of God certainly lies awake at night without peace. He may even think to himself, “What will happen to me if I should die this night, in my sleep?” How can such a person have any joy in the morning? Everything he says and does must come with risk of punishment and damnation. He must think that every work, be it good or ill, paints a target on his back for God’s wrath to come.

And many who don’t wish to live like this simply convince themselves that the devil’s delusion — that there is no God or no judgment — is true, so they scar their consciences so much that they are no longer bothered by their sins of thought, word, or deed. They no longer fear God because the delusion before them convinces them that there is no God, no judgment, no heaven, no hell, so they just go through life in ignorant bliss. And the devil uses the world to this end, through celebrating sinful living on TV or the internet, and painting virtue and holiness as a boring waste of time.

But for a person who has not completely scarred is conscience and who still wonders concerning his eternal destination, we have to wonder if he can even raise his head to heaven, read the Word of God, hear the preaching, enter a church, or receive the Sacraments without being terrorized of God’s wrath.

Even so, there is no one more fortunate and blessed than one who knows that he stands in grace before God! He can lie down at night and rise in the morning with joy and assurance because he knows that, should he die in his sleep, he shall live forever in his inheritance, that God’s angels are watching over him, and the blood of Christ still covers him. He goes about his day with joy in his calling, repenting, not out of fear of wrath, but repenting out of hatred for his sinning and a desire to please God.

He also knows that God seeks to make his life one of happiness, that even in his suffering God is there protecting and limiting his struggles so that he can endure. He knows he is surrounded by enemies on all sides, but he stands strong and confidently anyway because he knows God will not let his enemies destroy him. He suffers all, sickness, hardship, loss, hate, pain, broken reputation, loneliness, whatever comes his way, knowing that God will never leave him or forsake him, so he suffers joyfully.

How blessed is such a person who can stand in the one true faith and thereby stand with God in grace! He already has heaven, even amidst a world of trouble.

Gracious Lord, thank You for remembering me and giving me Your kingdom. Keep me in the one true faith so that in all my days, no matter what they bring, I may be joyful and at rest in Your care. In Jesus’ name, amen.