Collect of the Week
O God, You have prepared for those who love You such good things as surpass our understanding. Cast out all sins and evil desires from us, and pour into our hearts Your Holy Spirit to guide us into all blessedness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
In the name of + Jesus.
In yesterday’s readings, and the accompanying sermon (see the previous email), we were reminded that there is no neutral ground, but that we live in a world surrounded by evil. There is God’s Word, and what He gives, creates, institutes, and commands in that Word—everything that is good. And then, there is everything that is against that Word—everything that is evil.
One of the most difficult aspects of this biblical teaching, I suspect, is that, oftentimes, it is those within our family, or some of our dearest friends, in whom we see thoughts and actions that are contrary to the Word of God. These are people we love, people with whom we’ve grown up, people we work with on a daily basis. Do we really want to start looking at these people as evil?
The Holy Spirit would remind us, through the Apostle Paul, that our battle is not with these people. To be sure, when they speak of desires, and have ideas, and seek to live in a way that is contrary to God’s Word, those desires, ideas, and actions are evil. And, of course, they are sinners—just like the rest of us. But our battle is not actually with these people.
These are people we are called to love, and to serve, and to whom we have an opportunity to speak of everything Jesus has done for us—and for them! These are people who need the wonderfully good truth of God’s Word, for that is the very thing which has the power to change their minds (Rom. 12:2), and to bring them—by the power of the Holy Spirit—to repentance and faith.
The very thing that has called us, and gathered, us, and sanctified us in the truth of the Gospel, is the thing that will do it for our family, our friends, and our neighbors and colleagues who are currently calling good evil.
And so we trust, that the Jesus who has power over every evil foe, will keep His promise, and will use His Word, to make all things new. In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
Savior of the World, who desires everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth, we pray you to give us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a great love for all, to remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, and to trust that Your Word alone has the power to bring about the conversion of repentance and faith; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.