What Isn’t Enough for God

Lent 5 Saturday

Psalm 130:7-8

“Hope in the Lord, Israel, for with the Lord is grace and much redemption with him, and he will redeem Israel from all their sins.”

 

“Redemption” means liberation, and it is a general one that includes both liberation from guilt and liberation from punishment, but it means mostly liberation from guilt. This redemption he calls great and much, since our heart is so narrow. For when we pray for redemption, we pray as if we thought that we would be content with very little of it. Those who are afflicted by sadness of the heart wish that they would only have one day of rest; those oppressed by want think they should be satisfied with the daily bread. But this is not enough for God; for he gives more than we can understand or ask for, Ephesians 3:20. And it is completely true that we do not know how or for what we should pray, Romans 8:26. And I speak from experience. … This is why the prophet says that there is much redemption that goes beyond our understanding. For when we believe little, we also ask for little. But the Father in heaven showers his blessings on the sparks of our prayer and the droplets of our faith, making up for delays by a great abundance. For even though we must wait, the redemption later on is all the more abundant. … This promise is the conclusion of the psalm where he shows once again what caused him to pray and what we are to hope in similar danger. But it is exceedingly lovely to see the goodness of God, not only in that he gives us this life, governs it, and preserves it, but much more in that he is an enemy of sin and death and is engaged in redeeming us from these and saving us. For this is what makes pleasant the other gifts of God. For although we know that we are God’s creature, we nevertheless cannot enjoy God’s gifts with a joyful mind, while sadness, fear of death, an evil conscience, and such evils are present. Thus, this is what it means to depict God in his true colors, so that this life and all creatures become dear to us when he is depicted according to this verse that he wants to redeem his people from sins; that he wants to kill death, destroy hell, and crush Satan underfoot. Such is the God of the believers – I say “believers” on account of those who deny and despise God. For although those who believe are timid and are harassed by the devil and by death, they know that God is their redeemer. This is why they stand up and hope and wait for the redemption that is promised to them in the Word. This is why you can use this verse as a depiction of God’s office, or of what his proper work is, namely, that he wants to deal with sinners in order to do away with sins and establish life, righteousness, joy, and all good things. But you know that the means by which God does all this is Christ whom he sent into this world and whom he subjected to the death penalty so that those who believe in him would obtain the forgiveness of sins and become God’s children. Therefore, this entire psalm does not teach about the outward life or good works, but only about faith and hope in God through Christ and about the eventual victory over devil, sin, and death. For this victory does not rest on human works or on our powers, but is God’s work and power, but it is shared with us since there is grace with the Lord and much redemption with him. This is the only reason and the only way on which you can reach this victory. The doctrine concerning works has a different purpose, and it must be insisted upon in such a way that nothing is taken away from the honor and merit of Christ, as we have correctly taught this article everywhere by God’s grace. May Christ grant that this light may also shine for our posterity. Amen, amen.

 

St. Louis ed., 5:2064-2067.

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