LESSON: PSALM 103:1‒5
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Luke 17:13
Faith never asserts merits or tries to purchase God’s grace with works. It pleads only its utter lack of merits, or its demerits, and clings only to the pure, unmerited goodness and grace of God. This is also demonstrated very well by the lepers who have confident expectations in regard to Christ’s grace, without the performance of any works.
What good thing could they have done beforehand to impress Him? They had never seen Him before; much less did they have opportunities of serving Him. Then, too, they were lepers whom He would have been compelled to avoid according to the Law (Leviticus 13). It would have been necessary for Him to tell them the rights and wrongs of their situation. Basically, He would have been compelled to tell them the truth that He could have nothing to do with them, and they nothing with Him. That is also why they stand “at a distance,” as those who are well aware of their unworthiness.
Faith also stands at a distance from God; yet it runs to meet Him and cries out to Him. Faith fully recognizes the truth that it is unworthy of God’s goodness and has nothing on which to rely except His highly celebrated goodness. The soul which stands at a distance and is empty also seeks God’s goodness. This goodness cannot be linked in any way with our merits or works; it will come only of its own accord as Christ comes in this village to the lepers so that their praise might remain free and pure.
There is complete agreement here. God’s love dispenses His goodness freely and gratuitously. It receives nothing or seeks nothing in payment. Faith receives this goodness as a pure and simple gift, without making any payment of any kind for it.
PRAYER: There is never anything in us, O God, which merits Your grace and goodness, but rather the very opposite of this. Thanks and praise be Yours, heavenly Father, for the riches of Your grace and mercy freely bestowed upon us, in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.