May [the Lord] strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. 1 Thessalonians 3:13
These words from the apostle Paul to some of the very first Christians are a great lead-in to how God’s way of salvation is exactly opposite to the world’s. Where worldly theologians would encourage us to strengthen ourselves, St. Paul prays that God Himself would be the strength of His people. Paul could write this with confidence because there are many places in the Bible that tell us that this is true, such as Psalm 28:8 – “The LORD is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one.”
What comfort in these days of Advent to acknowledge that while our own strength is limited, God’s is limitless. There will always be times when our strength is not enough; but when God is working on our behalf even the worst trouble cannot overcome God’s strength.
The world would not expect this, thinking that we can accomplish this on our own by being so good that there is nothing to blame. But St. Paul reminds us that the only way we can truly be blameless before God is to have our sins are forgiven. This forgiveness can only come through faith and trust in Jesus who took away the punishment for our sins so that He might present us blameless to God.
Prayer: Dearest King of Kings, born to us a child in Bethlehem to take away the sin of the world, may we ever adore Thee Christ our Lord. Amen.
© 2006 Lutheran Hour Ministries
These devotions have been written by Rev. Paul and Kaye Wolff. Rev. Paul Wolff is a 1996 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He has served as a pastor in the Detroit area for 10 years. He and co-author wife, Kaye, live in Southfield, Michigan.
Kaye Dumas Wolff is Chairperson of the Black Ministry Church Planting Task Force and a Mission Affiliate of LCMS World Missions where she serves as a training facilitator for laity in evangelism and mission work. Kaye serves on the Advisory Council of the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and she is a presenter for Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Equipping to Share Workshop.
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