Third Sunday after Trinity (1882

)
Even the world does not deny that the sinner must abandon the path of sin if he wants to 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 by men 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; 1. how this happens; a. the example of the publicans and sinners teaches this1, α. in the knowledge of their misery of sin they come to Jesus hungry for grace, β. Jesus therefore graciously accepts them and makes other people from them - Zachaeus; b. Christ in the two parables teaches this; He shows in them α. the lost condition of sinners ‫א‬. in the lost sheep, sheep are easily lost, never rightly find their way, have no weapon against the wolf, therefore is lost without help; thus man is by nature astray from the way of life, helplessly abandoned to the devil, he cannot and will not turn back; ‫ב‬. in the lost coin that loses its shine and character under rubbish and 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 β. Christ seeks and finds the sinner; ‫א‬. He seeks him through the Gospel; in that He offers salvation, righteousness and salvation to the sinner and draws publicans and sinners with the sweet power of love, a Mary Magdalene, a Zachaeus, a Peter, ‫ב‬. finds them, i.e., He kindly accepts those hungry from grace2, assures them of forgiveness of sin and its bliss through Word and Sacrament, gives them the peace of God, a new heart, is filled with love for him, with hate against sin, to enter and to walk with desire and power from the path of sin off and on the path of godliness. The reversal of a sinner from the path of sin is therefore God's gracious work alone; God works 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
1 2

Luke 15:1-2. Luke 15:5, 9.

which follows improvement of the whole being, deeds and omissions of man by the Holy Spirit, so that from a Saul will be a Paul. 2. how necessary and blessed is this reversal, a. necessary, because the path of sin, from which not merely publicans, but also external pious Pharisees and Scribes go, is the path α. to temporal perdition - Saul, Absalom, Judas, the thief, β. to eternal perdition - the rich man; b. blessed, that the angels in heaven rejoice about it3, α. even here, because the sinner knows that he is God's child, a lamb of the Good Shepherd, that he has nothing to fear, is full of comfort and peace of the Holy Spirit, β. in eternity he enjoys with all the angels accomplished salvation. O[tto] H[anser]

3

Luke 15:7, 10.

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