Belgic Confession Art. 15

08/01/95; 1 Kings 8:46-53; 1 John 1:8-10; BC 15. Original Sin.

When Solomon had finished building the temple in Jerusalem, he organized a dedication service, and during that service he led in prayer. Solomon’s prayer contains a major theme: it is that prayer of intercession for people who fall into sin, knowing that to be true for everyone, “for there is no one who does not sin.” That’s life. The yeast of sin permeates the dough of life into every molecule. We do not sin by imitation; we sin because the very stream of our being has been corrupted. That is the way it is. This evening I will deal with original sin as it is involved in the sins we do, and our response to it.

At our creation, we were not corrupted by sin. As Calvin said: we must remember our original nobility which ought to arouse in us a zeal for righteousness and goodness. But we are no longer as God created us: our fall was exceedingly great, to put such poison and corruption in our souls as human behaviour continually demonstrates. As we think of our original nobility, we cannot help but notice the contrast, the sorry spectacle of our foulness and dishonour. Bk II, ch.1, 1. This is now the sorry truth concerning every person: “the mind of man has been so completely estranged from God’s righteousness that it conceives, desires, and undertakes, only that which is impious, perverted, foul, impure, and infamous. The heart is so steeped in the poison of sin, that it can breathe out nothing but a loathsome stench.”

A War Veteran was reported as saying something like this: “we act like beasts, but we know that is not what we are.” That’s the human dilemma.

We act like beasts indeed.

We see so much human behaviour that is really and truly terrible, but we hardly notice anymore. Our hearts are hardened. But sometimes the reality of it strikes us personally, and then we face how ugly we sometimes are, and how sinful. “We can’t figure it out,” we say. Or we ask about criminals: “what made him do it?” Or we hear about something horrible and we say: “I don’t believe it.”

The church has an old expression for it: the mystery of iniquity. That means: while we can say much about sin and evil, the bottom line is that we do not understand it. This is the way things are. Boys not yet in their teens kill a child. A university professor justifies date rape by saying that young men need release. One person dies in the midst of life, another, late in life prays every day: “may this be the last day of my life, dear Lord,” and lives on and on. Christians, across many centuries, have struggled to understand human reality as it is, and I believe we do well to take very seriously the church’s conclusion: iniquity is at heart mysterious. It certainly exists; but it should not be, and we cannot understand it.

Take this to heart, when some form of evil faces you, or hits you so hard that it knocks the wind out of you. “Why?” you ask. I have heard people scream this question with great rage. The church says: face it: this ugly reality, this horrible enemy is beyond understanding. Somewhere along the line we must come to terms with the fact that our efforts to understand will not succeed. We understand your quest for understanding what has happened, but the response to evil, and coming to terms with it will not be found that way.

From the Bible we know something of how things came to be this way. The creed says: this is how it was with Adam and Eve. They sinned. They were not supposed to. They knew better. But they did it anyhow. And this disobedience was carried into the whole human race. Fact: Adam and Eve sinned. Their children did, too. Think of their two boys: one became a murderer who killed the other, his brother. And we lived sinfully ever after.

We know from Scripture that this new intrusive reality caused God great sorrow. In Genesis 6: 6 we read that it grieved God to his heart that he had made humankind. Only Noah found favour in the sight of God, and the rest he blotted out with a flood.

The Church uses the phrase “original sin” for this. It is not found in the Bible. Augustine invented it 1500 years ago in his dispute with a teacher named Pelagius who said that we sin only by imitation. Augustine picked up a Biblical theme, that you find expressed sadly in Psalm 51:5; “Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.”

Theologian James Packer says that the church means to make three points when it speaks about original sin. Sin is present in everyone from birth in the form of motivationally twisted hearts. This inner sinfulness is the root of all sinful deeds. And sinfulness comes to us in a mysterious way from our first parents, Adam and Eve, especially from Adam, our first representative before God.

What do we do when we awaken to the power of sinfulness? What do we do when we tremble before God in our self-discovery of being sinners who stand before a Holy God?

  1. We are inclined to seek to understand. But part of our discovery of how bad and ugly and powerful sin really is includes the discovery that we cannot understand it. Think of the murderer Teale. We can probably find contributing factors. Maybe he had a bad childhood. Perhaps he drank too much. Was pornography a contributing factor? Likely such factors enter in. But all sinful and criminal behaviour will have a dimension that we do not understand. Sin is an ugly part of who we are. It is also a mystery.
  1. The effort to understand sin is often in cahoots with our desire to excuse ourselves. “I couldn’t help it,” someone says. “My excuse is that my father beat me mercilessly.” Another says: “sorry, when I drink, I lose control. So, don’t blame me.” When we try to blame sinful behaviour on such factors, we are saying that we are not responsible. We cannot help it. There are all those excuses. However, a statement like: “I did it because I was drunk” is never adequate. Even worse is a statement like: “she made me beat her up.” When we do become aware of circumstances, we do often say now that understand better. Indeed, we must take circumstances into account.
  1. The right thing to do with our own sinfulness is confession. When all our efforts to understand have been carried out to the fullest extent, and when we have taken account of mitigating circumstances, the most important thing to do remains confession. We might say: Lord: I don’t know why I did it. I do not understand the sinful person that I am. And I do live in difficult circumstances. However, when all is said and done, I did it.

The proper response beyond understanding or excuses is confession, because that is how we deal with it before the Lord. We go to the crucified Jesus, and we acknowledge what we did.

We do not say: if I sinned, forgive me. When we realize what sin is all about before the Holy God, we stop playing cutesy little games like that.

We do like David did in Psalm 51. We plead with God for mercy, and we come clean. We dust off all the shelves in our hearts. Out of David’s awareness of sin, comes this heartfelt prayer: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

When we have learned to be transparent, honest and open before God in this way, then we have learned the wisdom of God in our secret heart.

And then the gospel comes: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When out of our awareness of guilt we go to the Lord and hear his word of forgiveness, then we understand Psalm 32: 1,2:

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered.

Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,

and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

 

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Romans

Romans 1

Dear God, we need the gospel of salvation your servant Paul describes so beautifully.

You gave your truth, but we suppressed it, and so we deserve your wrath, for knowing you, we do not honor you, instead, we descend ever more deeply into a life of sin.

Therefore you give us up to various lusts,
to disordered sexual relations
and to debased minds.
We do things that are hurtful to others.
Sinful deeds arouse your wrath.

So we thank your providing us a glorious way out through who Jesus is and what he has done for us.

Therefore we thank and praise you for the gospel, for it is powerful with your power that is able to save everyone who has faith, for the gospel reveals to us the righteousness of God through faith and for faith.

Praise to you, Triune God, that this news has been proclaimed and believed throughout the world. Amen.

Romans 2

God of mercy and justice, we will never learn or appreciate why you gave your son to suffer and be crucified until we learn from Scripture what it means to be a sinner.

So we thank you for teaching us about the complex and dark ways of sin.
However, we would like to pretend that we are not sinners. We would like to see it as a minor problem we can repair or atone for by means of keeping the law, and doing some kind deeds for others from time to time.

The paths of sin are a deep and ugly mystery.
We will never understand sin’s treacherous ways.
But we know that sin drags us down to deep darkness.

We dare to presume upon your kindness, forbearance and patience.
We do not see your gifts as a call to repentance.
But God, you will judge the secret thoughts of all people. Thank you for providing the way of escape for all who repent. For such there will be honor, glory and peace.

So nudge all of us to be people who repent from the heart.

Hear our cry for mercy which we raise in the name of the crucified Jesus. Amen.

Romans 3

God of faithfulness and justice: it is difficult for us to admit it, but we are people under the power of sin, people who have your word, but we are also those who do not obey it.

You are right in judging us because right and wrong,
justice and evil matter. We cannot justify ourselves by deeds of the law.

We praise you for showing us a new way.
You restore relationships.
You provide the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Now through faith we know that there is justification through grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
You have provided Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, made effective not through works we have done, but through faith.

Through Christ Jesus, you have shown us your righteousness, patience and mercy.
You passed over sins committed in the past.
You have proven yourself to be righteous and now we sinners are made right in your sight. We affirm that we have no reason to boast, only reason for endless thankfulness and praise.

We thank you for Jesus Christ, the one who fulfills are righteousness for us. Amen.

Romans 4

God, you give life to the dead, and call into existence things that do not yet exist.

You give us the promise that we will inherit the world to come, not through works of the law, but through the righteousness that you give us through faith.

We celebrate the overwhelming importance of faith.
Our ancestor Abraham was counted righteous through faith before he was circumcised. When you called him to go, he went. He trusted you to show him the way and the place where he was to go.

So Abraham is the ancestor of all who believe,
and you count righteousness to us, too, only through faith, not through circumcision or baptism or any work of merit.

Forgive us when we are misguided enough to boast before you because we think we have done really well in our obedience to the law. We forget that we are saved through faith in the living and life-giving suffering of Christ on the cross.

May we never have any mistrust that makes us waver concerning your promises. May we grow stronger in faith every day, and give you glory.

We pray in the name of Jesus who opens the door to your kingdom for us. Amen.

Romans 5

God of grace and glory, we praise you for the dominion of your abounding grace, grace sufficient to cover all our sins, and the sins of the whole world.

Through justification, we have received varied and rich gifts. We have peace with you our God. We have received an open door to the grace in which we now live.

We may now boast in the hope of sharing your glory.

We even boast in our suffering and the growth of character that comes with it.

We are glad that your love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

We thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for you were crucified for us, bringing salvation. We did not deserve this gift. We did not merit it because of any goodness in us, but while we were yet sinners, you died for us and reconciled us to God. We are now saved by your life.

We are free because sin no longer exercises its dominion over us. We have received that abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness, and we exercise the dominion of life through the one man, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

Father God, we thank you for all Jesus has done for us. Amen.

Romans 6

God of grace and glory, we recognize that there are two roads through life, the road of unbelievers and believers, the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death.

Our way begins with being baptized in Christ’s death for us. Thank you God, for this way leads to complete renewal, and it allows us to walk in newness of life.

God, a glorious future awaits us when we have been baptized into Christ: we will one day participate with him in a resurrection like his. God, this also means that our sinful natures will be destroyed! We are no longer enslaved to sin! We may consider ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus! God, forbid that we allow sin to reign in us.
Do not allow us to let us yield our bodies to sin as instruments of wickedness, but to present our whole being to you as tools of righteousness.

God, great are the gifts you have given us in Jesus because you love us.
We have become obedient from the heart to the teachings entrusted to us. We are set free from sin. We became passionate about pursuing righteousness.

We thank you, God, that in Christ we are made holy.
Your free gift to us is the unimaginable wonder of eternal life in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Romans 7

God, merciful and mighty, we admit that it is difficult for us to be the people we want to be, and even worse, it is difficult for us to be the people you want us to be.

With your servant Paul, we need to say that our condition is wretched.

On the one hand, God, the good news is that we are free from the law for we are in Christ Jesus. With him we have died to the law to bear fruit to you, our God.

On the other hand, the law and the commandments are holy, good and just, but we are still the old fleshly self, sold to sin. So your law is not our enemy. The sin that lives in our hearts is the real enemy. Therefore we are not able to save ourselves in spite of our best efforts to obey your holy and good law.

God, we are troubled because we are deeply divided within. Your law is good, but our hearts are sold to sin and we are troubled by who we are. In this crisis we cry out to you: “who will deliver us from this losing battle?”

And then with gratitude and joy we remember: “the victory is ours through Jesus Christ. Jesus, you are our Lord!”

Thank you for giving this rich gift to us and all your people. Amen.

Romans 8

Father God, you have provided for our needs and the needs of the whole creation because we are in Christ Jesus, and we have the Spirit of life in us.

We deserve condemnation but we have been set free.
We were held captive under the law of sin and death, but you have delivered us, because Jesus fulfilled the just requirements of the law through his death and resurrection.

Sin held dominion over us, but now, the Spirit of life which alone can please you, rules in our hearts.

We were estranged from you, but now we have received the spirit of adoption. Through the Spirit we recognize you as our Father.

The groaning creation also will be delivered from its bondage to decay to share the glory that you will make known to us.

Father, we groan along with your creation.
We are eagerly awaiting our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

We admit that we are weak, but your Spirit helps us in our weakness and prays for us to express our wordless groaning to you.

Father, we trust that you will work all to our good, and you will complete what you have begun for us until we are at last glorified with you.

In the meanwhile, you will give us all we need, because you are faithful, and you will see to it that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Thank you for your gifts in Christ. Amen.

Romans 9

Electing God, why do some believe and others not?
We try to understand. We want to be faithful to your word.

God, we would like to know why some people’s hearts are hardened. So few of your own people believe, despite all the advantages they have. They are children of Abraham and Sarah. From them the Messiah came, according to the flesh.

But God, it cannot be true that your word failed.
Throughout history, your purpose of election continues.

Electing God, we fail to understand your ways. We are perplexed and puzzled by your works, you, God of justice. We trust that faith comes at your initiative.

Your people Israel failed to understand that our works of righteousness based on law did not succeed in fulfilling the law.

And so we learn that Gentile and Jew can only be saved and receive righteousness through the gift of faith in Christ Jesus.

As it is the potter’s freedom to shape the clay according to what he wishes to make, so we acknowledge that it is your prerogative to show mercy to whom you will, and to harden hearts as you choose.

Through your Holy Spirit helps us to live with mystery. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 Romans 10

God, we pray that you will enlighten everyone who is zealous for you. We learn that if we think we can make ourselves good enough before you, we will be disappointed, for we cannot be completely obedient.
So we thank you that Christ has done everything for us the law requires. There is a free and perfect righteousness for us.

The good news is not far away, but close by, on our lips and in our hearts.

For all who thirst for you, O God, the preaching of the gospel comes as fresh, clean water, the water of grace.
May all who hear the message confess Jesus Christ with the mouth, and believe with the heart. So may we all be made right with you, and be saved.

God, we believe your word that no one who trusts in you will be put to shame. We are confident that your arms of invitation reach out to all, to all who seek you, but also to the disobedient and contrary-minded.

Thank you, Father God, for your generosity to us. Amen.

Romans 11

God, we marvel at your riches, wisdom and knowledge.
They are very deep. We cannot search out your judgments, nor understand your ways.

God, it is no wonder that we do not fully understand how you deal with people, but we do trust that it is within your plan to bless, and that you have not changed your mind.

So we trust that salvation is a gift of grace. We do not deserve to be saved. Yet for us great mysteries remain:  some people’s hearts remain hard, and yet this becomes the occasion for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles to make your own people jealous.

We learn that Israel’s stumbling has come to mean riches to the world. But God, how much richer everyone would become through Israel’s inclusion.

So God, we stand in awe of you. You are severe to the fallen. You are kind to all who continue in kindness.
You have power to graft broken olive shoots onto olive trees.
So the day will come, when the number of Gentiles has been completed, then also all Israel will be saved, for in your election plan Israel is also your beloved, and you will be merciful to all: enemies, the disobedient and sinful, too.

So to you be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 12

Great are you, O God, and wonderful are all your works.
You are renewing the world you love.
You are bringing in your kingdom to heal the world.
We pray that our lives may be a fitting response to all you have done. By your Spirit we present our bodies as living sacrifices to you.By the renewing of our minds may we see what your will is, what is good and acceptable to you.

May we, your people, appreciate the value of the gifts and talents you have given us.
May none of us boast about our goodness, thinking we are more valuable than others.

Give us genuine love that holds on to the good.
May we honor and respect each person.
God, we desire to honor you together, and serve you eagerly.

Father, we pray that we will be good friends and companions to people in whatever their situation, of need or blessing, joy or sorrow, tears or laughter.

Strengthen our hearts that we may never be defeated by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jesus, through your Spirit, you make us new. Thanks and praise to you for this wonderful work. Amen.

 Romans 13

Lord God, governor of all people, each of us serves you in our own way, as you give us talents and callings.
Governing authorities are also your servants, called to pursue the peace and well-being of their subjects.

God, when those in positions of authority are basically good and just it is easier to comply with their governance, as in Paul’s day, but sometimes it becomes more difficult to agree and go along when those servants become evil, as when they persecute people for their faith, or impose burdens too heavy to bear.

God, we ask that we may have the wisdom to be good citizens in our time, knowing that in our nation this may require something quite different from us than for people under dictatorships and other forms of tyranny.

Help us to love one another in fulfillment of your law, and stop us from showing disrespect to others. We understand that love never wrongs another.
Forgive us our imperfect love. Remind us that Jesus will one day return to judge the living and the dead.

Keep us wide awake, with enough oil in our lamps until that day.

Help us to live honorably. This can be difficult for us, so with your gracious help may we put on Christ, carrying him proudly always and everywhere.

O God, come quickly to help us. Amen.

Romans 14

Dear Father God, our scruples can be harmful to other people. Therefore we pray that we may learn to welcome and live in loving ways even when we disagree and have differences opinions on issues such as what we may eat, or passing judgment on others on matters on which we are ultimately only accountable to you, our God.

We confess that we can be quarrelsome and too quick to judge, too slow to make allowance for people we deem to be legalistic or weak. Help us to know our own minds and to become fully convinced of your truth while remaining open to correction. In all things may we give thanks and honor to you, for in life and death we are yours, our Savior and Lord, God of the living and the dead.

May we learn to see clearly when our scruples put a hindrance or stumbling block before another.  Prevent us from doing anything leads to the ruin of another for whom Christ died. May we discern what really matters from the trivial. May we see what it means that your Kingdom is a matter of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

God, instead of being quarrelsome, help us to do everything we can to pursue peace and leads to building each other up. May all we do proceed from faith.

Through Jesus, show us how to be faithful disciples always and everywhere. Amen.

Romans 15

God of steadfastness and encouragement,
grant that we may live together in harmony,
the strong and the weak,
the Jew and Gentile,
in accordance with the service with which Christ served us, for the glory of your name and so that everyone may be built up, especially our neighbors.

Teach us to welcome one another with the same grace with which Christ welcomed us, so that all of us,
sinful and broken, may live to the glory of you, our God,
because of your mercy.

God, fill us with joy and peace in believing,
so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for the passion your servant Paul had for sharing the story of Jesus with those who had never heard.
May we be filled with that same passion for those who need to hear today.

Father, as Jesus had compassion on us, may we have compassionate hearts. Amen.

 Romans 16

Eternal, wise God, we are thankful for all who have made our lives better for us by their friendship and hospitality. We will remember them.

We pray for discernment to notice people who cause dissensions and offences. They oppose the truth of the gospel. God, we desire to be wise in what is good, and to shun evil.

We trust that Satan’s defeat is near.

God, strengthen us by the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, the good news long kept secret, but now made known to the Gentiles as you commanded, to bring about the obedience of faith.

To you, wise God, be glory forever! Amen.

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Jude

Dear God, your servant Jude has provided us with strong words of warning.

We are called, beloved and kept safe,
but through Jude You also warns us to contend for the faith,
for intruders steal in who pervert your grace, God,
and deny our only Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

Your destruction came upon unbelievers in the past,
and will come today on those who do not believe and commit ungodly acts.

So we, your beloved people,
are urged to build ourselves up in the faith, to continue loving you,
and to look forward to the mercy of eternal life.

May we reach out to the wavering,
snatching them from the fire,
and have mercy on others with fear,
so that we will not be corrupted by them.

Now, our God, you are able to keep us from falling.
You are able to make us stand without blemish in the presence of your glory with rejoicing.
To you, the only God our Savior,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, power and authority,
before all time and now and forever.
Amen.

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3 John

God of your people,we thank you for the multitudes of people like Gaius.
He was faithful to the truth. He showed hospitality to strangers who were messengers of the gospel,
and who accepted no support from unbelievers.

May we, like them, follow their examples,
never imitate evil,
but only what is good,
for only good comes from God.

We pray for the well-being of all your servants, both physically and spiritually.

Give us your peace, Oh Lord!

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2 John

We thank you for servants like John who love you, your people, and your truth.

We trust that your grace, mercy and peace will be with us,
from you, our God and Father,
and from your son, Jesus Christ, in truth and love.

Mall all your people walk in your truth and obey your commandment to love on another.

Keep us alert always to those who would deceive us with lies,
and help us to keep them at arm’s length.

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1 John

1 John 1

Life-giving Father,
it is a great privilege to have the word of life, that is Jesus Christ who was from the beginning, is now and shall be evermore.

We believe that you have revealed eternal life to us, and established fellowship with our brothers and sisters and with you, our God, and your son Jesus Christ. We have heard and believe this message, and it brings us complete joy.

God, in you are both life and light.
Enlivened and enlightened by you, may we walk in the light, for that is the way to wholesome relationships, and in this way the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.

We believe and rejoice, knowing that you are faithful and just and will forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 JOHN 2

God, righteous and just in all your ways,
sin is a grievous matter in your sight.
Again and again Your word warns us about all manner of transgression:
disobeying Your commandments, we walk in darkness;
we do not love our brothers and sisters as we ought.

We love the world, and listen to what our flesh desires and what appeals to our eyes.
We are proud of our wealth and our achievements.
However, your word teaches us that all these are passing away.

We hear the warning against abandoning your people.
You tell us to be alert in the end times, when the Antichrist is coming.

Father, we know sin is such a grave matter that rather than to let sin conquer, you have provided an advocate, Jesus the righteous,
the one who made atoning sacrifice for our sins.
He is the true light that is already shining.

How blessed we are when we abide in the gospel, for then we abide in the Son and in the Father.

We pray for the gift of abiding in Jesus, until he is revealed,
for in abiding we may be confident and not ashamed in the day of his coming.

1 JOHN 3

Father God, without you we do not know who we are, but now that you have given your love to us, we receive a wonderful identity from you: we are your children! What love! And yet greater truth will be made known, for one will be like you.

Because we belong to you, we have great reason to fight against our sin, and to purify ourselves.

You call us to do what is right, and you give us help to live this new life, because we have been born of you, our God.

May your love bear fruit in us in loving one another and helping those in need. In Jesus, You have shown us to love not just in words, but in deeds.

God, as we strive to live as your children, our hearts will not condemn us: instead we will have boldness before you.

Encourage all people to believe in the name of your dear son, Jesus Christ.

Thank you because as we love, we know that Your Spirit lives in us.

1 JOHN 4

You are love, O God.
We do not know you through seeing you,
for no one has ever seen you,
but if we love on another, you live in us,
and we abide in you through the Spirit you have given us.

Through your Spirit show us clearly how to test the spirits, and to turn away from the antichrist who denies that Jesus came from you.

We, your little children are from you, our God.

We listen to the good news as brought by your servants the apostles.

We confess and rejoice because you gave Jesus as the lamb who gave himself as the atoning sacrifice for sin.
That is how great your love is for us.

And now we pray that your love will be made complete in the love we show each other.
This love we show has no fear in it:
it casts out fear.
And that is true because of the love you first gave us.

So now, you who are love, may we love our brothers and sisters, today and always.

1 JOHN 5

Father of your family,
you desire a world where love rules, and desires this, too.
We know that the world of love and holiness does not come by weapons, might, terror or any other human means.

We trust that only through faith in your only begotten Son can we be born anew to love for you and obedience to your commandments.

We believe the testimony that you have given us eternal life,
the new reality for today and for all time to come.

Thank you for the assurance that if we ask anything in name of Jesus, you hear us.
Through our prayers you forgive the sins of our brothers and sisters, unless these sins are mortal.

Thank you for giving us understanding that your word is true.

May we never put our trust in idols, but only in You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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2 Peter

2 PETER 1

Gracious God,
through faith in you and our Savior Jesus Christ, we have learned to value the good news above all else. In the good news we receive the knowledge that leads to goodness.

Your servant Peter encourages us to support faith with goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection and love.

None of our cleverly devised myths can make us effective and fruitful in the way the knowledge of Jesus does.

Make us eager to confirm our call and election, and so to enter the eternal kingdom which our Lord Jesus richly provides.

Make each one of us focus on Jesus, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in our hearts.

We rejoice that we have this shining lamp because holy men and women were moved to speak by the Holy Spirit speaking to us from God.

2 PETER 2

Master of the universe,
you warn us to be on the alert against false prophets. They have always been agitating among your people. Give us the discernment to know who they are, and especially to know if in any sense we ourselves teach what is false, even if we do so unintentionally.

We recognize that if we malign the truth, then soon sinful lives and deeds will follow, and your judgment and punishment will follow as well, and we are caught in a whirlpool of evil that will drag us down ever deeper.

At the same time we learn that you, Master, know how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day you come to judge the living and the dead.

And so we learn from you how utterly serious your relation is with your people. If we abandon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will be entangled and overpowered by sin, and our final state will be worse after abandoning our Savior, then it was before we got to know him.

Kyrie Eleison, Lord have mercy.

2 PETER 3

Lord of the coming great day,
we are given to speculation as to when the great will happen, but Scripture does not tell us. It warns us to be prepared for otherwise the day will catch us by surprise, like a thief in the night.

God, those last days will be difficult days, with scoffers and sinners indulging their own lusts without concern for consequences, even though they have been warned of the coming destruction.

Because a great conflagration is coming, we should remember what kind of persons we should be. In the meanwhile, we wait for a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness is at home.

In this time of waiting, we remember your patience, Father, for your patience is our salvation.

In this time of waiting, help us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To You, Lord Jesus Christ, be glory both now and until the coming of the great day, the day of eternity. Amen.

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