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The Acceptable Time
Scripture and a reading from Luther's sermons and devotional writings

Today's online Scripture jigsaw

From the Word

1 Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, "At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:1–2, RSV

From Luther

These words portray the riches of salvation, wherever the gospel abounds; nothing but grace and help; no wrath, no punishment. Indeed, the apostle here employs words of unutterable meaning. He tells us that it is an acceptable time, as the Hebrew expresses it. Our way of putting it would be: This is a gracious time, a time when God turns away his wrath and is moved only by love and benevolence toward us and is pleased to do us good. All our sins are forgotten; he takes no notice of the sins of the past, nor of those of the present. We are in a realm of mercy, where are only forgiveness and reconciliation. The heavens are now open. This is the golden year when man is denied nothing. Whatsoever thou shalt desire and ask for, thou shalt surely receive. Be not neglectful: ask while the acceptable time continues.

Paul also declares that it is a day of blessing, “a day of salvation.” It is a day of help, wherein we are not only acceptable and assured of God’s favor and good will toward us, but we experience, even as we have been assured, that God really does help us. He verifies his assurance, for his beneficence gives testimony that our prayers are heard. We call it a happy day, a blessed day, a day of abundance; for these two truths are inseparably related, namely, that God is favorable toward us, and that his kindness is proof of his favor. God’s favor toward us is revealed in the first clause, which speaks of an acceptable time; that he extends help to us is revealed in the second clause, telling of a blessed day of succor. Both these facts are to be apprehended by faith and in good conscience; for a superficial judgment would lead to the view that this period of blessing is rather an accursed period of wrath and disfavor. Words like these, of a spiritual meaning, must be understood in the light of the Holy Spirit; thus shall we find that these two glorious, beautiful expressions refer to the gospel dispensation and are intended to magnify all the treasures and the riches of the kingdom of Christ. May we take heed and accept the gospel with fear and gratitude.

Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 89–90.

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