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From the Word: And the city has no need of the sun, nor the moon, to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. (Revelation 21:23)
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Sixth Petition
And lead us not into temptation.
What does this mean?
God indeed tempts no one to sin, but we pray in this petition that God would guard and protect us from this, that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or lead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins, but pray that when we are tempted in these ways, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.
Pulling It Together: In eternity, the righteous will shine like the sun (Matt 13:43); but, I wonder, why should we wait for eternity? Let us burn brightly now. I know; I know. You ask, How can I, a poor sinner, blaze with such glory? And you will not, so long as you imagine it is you who are the fuel of the eternal city. You shine brightest when your face, your very life, is full of the Lamb’s light. Your glowing is not a matter of not sinning or being perfect, but of the perfect Lamb of God having died for your sins, yet is alive again. It is when miserable sinners confess their sins, turning to the one who forgives and redeems and showers them in his light, that they emerge from the darkness.
So, when we pray, “lead us not into temptation,” what are we asking but that we are continually led out of darkness and into the light of the Lamb? When we invoke the Sixth Petition, we are asking for more than a removal of temptations or for the ability to not sin. We are asking in faith that our human darkness be illuminated by the Lamp of the eternal city which even now has begun to shine.
Prayer: Give me such sight, O Lamb of God, that you fill my field of vision. Amen.
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