Lectionary 25 A

The Ninevites are a positive example, the people of Israel are a negative example, and good works can cause you to loose your salvation!? Is this opposite day?

Jonah 3:10—4:11

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
--Jonah 3:10

Chapter 3, verse 10 is cited through editorial insert into Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 12: Repentance (AP 12.166) where Melanchthon says that the Ninevites are examples of true repentance. The Ninevites!

Exodus 16:2-15 (semicontinuous)

Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
--Exodus 16:8

Verse 8 is cited in a footnote to Smalcald Articles, Part 3, Article 2: Concerning the Law (SA 3.2.4, n. 81) as an example of grumbling or murmur against God with several others. The example here seems somewhat out of place because the context passage is how the law forces us to recognize our own sin, which drives us to become enemies of God because we don't know where to go for relief, but I'll leave that to your homiletical ponderings.

Philippians 1:21-30

This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
-- Philippians 1:28b

The last part of verse 28 is cited and alluded to in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 4: Good Words (SD 4.38) as a response to the idea that good works are harmful to salvation. Good works, when done "in the way that God demands them," are a sign of God's salvation.

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him...
-- Philippians 1:29

Verse 29 is quoted earlier in the Solid Declaration, in Article 2: Free Will (SD 2.26) in a large section of biblical citations. This verse is quoted to emphasize that the rebirth which comes from the Spirit is a gift from God.

Matthew 20:1-16

This entire passage is cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.27) as a reminder that God calls people at any point in their life and at any time in history. So Christians are all given the vocation of proclaiming the gospel through word and deed since God works through us.

Please note that in scriptural citation index of the Kolb/Wengert edition verse 16 is falsely listed as appearing on page 518, paragraph 12. I looked for a possible citation at other apparent location but was unable to find one.


The ideas of true repentance and doing good works as demanded by God could create yet another law, but a theme that comes forth here is to look for the fruits of repentance and good works. With this focus we look for coworkers in proclaiming the gospel wherever they might be found. Stay focused on the proclamation, not the compensation. Cough, prosperity gospel, cough.

  • When does focusing on salvation become a problem?
  • How do we proclaim God's gift of salvation as motivation for reaching out to others?