Third Sunday after Trinity (1882)
Even the world does not deny that the sinner must abandon the path of sin if he wantsto be saved. But it instead holds that this applies merely to coarse sinners and servants of vice,merely exists in external amendment of life of manifest sinners and finally could be rectified bymen themselves in their own power. We learn about this quite differently from today's Gospel.
The reversal of a sinner from the path of sin;
how this happens
;a. the example of the publicans and sinners teaches this
. in the knowledge of their misery of sin they come to Jesus hungry forgrace,
. Jesus therefore graciously accepts them and makes other people fromthem - Zachaeus;b. Christ in the two parables teaches this; He shows in them
. the lost condition of sinners. in the lost
, sheep are easily lost, never rightly find theirway, have no weapon against the wolf, therefore is lostwithout help; thus man is by nature astray from the way of life,helplessly abandoned to the devil, he
turnback;. in the lost
that loses its shine and character under rubbishand dirt, is completely helpless until it is found and cleansed;thus man has lost the image of God by sin and lies in the filth of sin, helpless, even dead, until
Christ seeks and finds the sinner;. He seeks him through the Gospel; in that He offers salvation,righteousness and salvation to the sinner and draws publicansand sinners with the sweet power of love, a Mary Magdalene, aZachaeus, a Peter,. finds them, i.e., He kindly accepts those hungry from grace
,assures them of forgiveness of sin and its bliss through Wordand Sacrament, gives them the peace of God, a new heart, isfilled with love for him, with hate against sin, to enter and towalk with desire and power from the path of sin off and on thepath of godliness.The reversal of a sinner from the path of sin is therefore God's gracious work alone; Godworks the repentant knowledge of sin through His Law, and faith in Christ through the Gospel;it does not consist in outward amendment of life from gross sins, but in change of heart, from
Luke 15:5, 9.