Ephesians 5:1-9

3rd Sunday in Lent, 1869

C. F. W. Walther

(Translated by E. Myers)

Oh God, Thou art a holy and righteous God. Thou art not a God who hast pleasure in unrighteousness. Wicked men do not remain in Thy sight. The boastful do not stand before Thee. Thou art the enemy of all evildoers. Thou destroyest the liar. The bloodthirsty and the false are abomination in Thy sight. Thou art a zealous God who visitest the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Thee. Thou art a righteous Judge, a God who threatens the wicked every day. Thou hast whetted Thy sword and strung Thy bow against them who will not be converted. Thou takest deadly aim. Thou hast prepared Thy arrows to destroy.

Oh holy and righteous God, we confess that our hopelessly corrupt heart forgets Thy holiness and righteousness so often, despises Thy commands and threats, loves the sins Thou hatest, and wilfully abuses Thy grace, patience, and longsuffering.

Oh enter not into judgment therefore with us. Do not cast us away from Thy presence. Do not give us up to the evil lusts of our heart, but awaken and enlighten us so that our lives may be shaken in awe of the majesty of Thy holiness and righteousness. May our hearts be put in fear so we would in true repentance seek and seize Thy grace by faith and thereafter walk sanctified by Thy holy fear.

To that end bless the preaching of Thy word in this hour for the sake of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, our Savior, Mediator, and Redeemer. Amen.

Scripture text: Ephesians 5:1-9. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) [Return to top]

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus!

One of the chief reasons why unbelievers reject the Old Testament in particular is that God is so often presented on its pages as a wrathful God. They say that a religion ascribing wrath and fury to God could not possibly be the true religion. God, they say, is only love, nothing but a loving father who only loves all men, and who will surely overlook the sins of men, His children, as human weaknesses.

If there is any error as terrible as it is frightful, it is the one that God is not angry at sin. That so many deny this in our day proves that baptized Christendom has now fallen deeper than even the fallen heathen world. For all the heathen always believed that there is a god who is angry at sin. That is why they tried to reconcile him by certain sacrifices. Concerning the heathen world Paul testifies, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth (that is, their natural better knowledge) in unrighteousness." (Romans 1:18).

That God is angry at sin is written by nature in every man's heart. For why is it that men are restless when they have done evil though no one else may know about it? Their own "conscience...and their own thoughts...accusing or else excusing one another" bear witness that they have angered an invisible, mighty and zealous Judge who will punish them in time or eternity.

Read more