Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit. . . .
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Psalm 32:1-2, 7
Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. . . . There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.” Then the king turned around and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. And he said,“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, . . . For I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and I have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. And there I have provided a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.” 1 Kings 8:1, 9-15, 20b-21
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 2 Corinthians 3:1-9
24] These two doctrines, we believe and confess, should always be diligently taught in God’s Church forever, even to the end of the world. They must be taught with the proper distinction of which we have heard, [in order that]: (a) through the preaching of the Law and its threats in the ministry of the New Testament the hearts of impenitent people may be terrified, and (b) they may be brought to a knowledge of their sins and to repentance. This must not be done in such a way that they lose heart and despair in this process. “So then, the Law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24); so the Law points and leads us not from Christ, but to Christ, who “is the end of the Law” (Romans 10:4). 25] People must be comforted and strengthened again by the preaching of the holy Gospel about Christ, our Lord. In other words, to those who believe the Gospel, God forgives all their sins through Christ, adopts them as children for His sake, and out of pure grace–without any merit on their part–justifies and saves them. However, He does not do this in such a way that they may abuse God’s grace and may sin hoping for grace (Romans 6:1). 26] Paul thoroughly and forcefully shows this in the distinction between the Law and the Gospel (2 Corinthians 3:6-9). [Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord Article V.24-26: The Law and the Gospelhttp://bookofconcord.org/sd-la
DAILY PRAYER for THURSDAY
O Lord Jesus Christ, true King of heaven and earth, You promised to Your Church that the gates of hell would not prevail against her, and You still cause Your Word to be preached and Your Holy Sacraments to be administered among us. But ah! O Lord, the sins of Your people obscure the majesty of Your bride. Your holy vineyard is trampled and Your blessed sacrifice stands neglected. Many think themselves strong and despise the life-giving food that You have ordained for Your holy people, for the forgiveness of their sins.
Pardon all our arrogance and do not come to us in wrath to remove the lamp of Your Word from before our eyes! O Lord, we pray You: visit this vine, which You once established for Yourself, and renew us with the sun of Your mercy and the water of eternal life.
Give us a great hunger for the food of Your true body and blood, and let all Your faithful people ever be found in the apostles’ doctrine, in the fellowship, in the breaking of Your bread, and in the prayers.
We implore You, O Lord, for our altar; that it may ever be a place where the medicine of eternal life, the forgiveness of our sins, strengthens us in body and soul; that disbelief and impenitence may stay far from all who come there so that they may not eat and drink to their own judgment.
O Eternal High Priest, let the fruit of Your Spirit grow in us, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and chastity. Cause us to live in holy conduct toward one another to the glory of Your holy name, here in time and hereafter in eternity; for You live and reign with the Father and the same Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.