Edited from Johann Gerhard's Sacred Meditations (Philadelphia, PA: Lutheran Publication Society, 1896), Meditation #5. Gerhard wrote this when he was extremely sick, believing that he was about to die.
The Grace of Jesus is of Infinite Value
Behold, O Lord Jesus, how basely I have treated Your passion; my heart is deeply pained and my soul greatly saddened because I have no works or merits of my own to offer for my salvation; yet since Your passion, O Jesus, may be my work, let Your works also be my merit. Surely I do not rightly treat Your passion, because, when that is amply sufficient for my salvation, I am seeking to supplement it by my own good works. And if I should discover any righteousness in myself, Your righteousness would be of no avail to me, or certainly I should not so ardently desire it. If I seek to justify myself by the deeds of the law, I shall be condemned by the law. But I know that I am no longer under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14).
Shamefully have I lived; "O Holy Father, I have sinned against heaven, and am no more worthy to be called Your son" (Luke 15:31); but refuse not to call me Your servant. Do not let, I beseech You, the blessed benefits of Your suffering be denied me. Do not let Your precious blood become of no avail in freeing my soul from sin. Sin has always dwelt in me; I beseech You, now, let it die with me. Hitherto the flesh has had dominion over me; now let the Spirit triumph in me. Let the outward man perish, that the inward man may rise into new glory. Hitherto I have always followed the temptations of the devil; let him now, I pray You, be trampled under my feet (Romans 16:20). Satan is at hand to accuse me, but he has nothing in me.
The very idea of death terrifies me; and yet death will mark the end of my sins and the beginning of a perfectly holy life. Then at last shall I be able to please You perfectly, O my God. Then at last shall I be established in goodness and virtue. Satan holds up my sins before me to terrify me; but let him accuse the One who has taken upon Himself my infirmities and whom God has smitten for my sins (Isaiah 53:4). My debt is exceedingly great, nor can I pay the least part of it, but I trust in the riches and kindness of my Surety. Let Him who has become surety for me free me; let Him who has taken my debt upon Himself pay it. I have sinned, O Lord, and my sins are many and great beyond measure; and yet may I never voluntarily commit that most heinous sin of charging You with a lie, when You declare by words and by works and by an oath, that perfect satisfaction has been rendered for my iniquities.
- I do not fear my sins, for You are my righteousness
- I do not fear my ignorance, for You are my wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30)
- I do not fear death, for You are my life (John 14:6)
- I do not fear my errors, for You are my truth
- I do not fear my corruption, for You are my resurrection (John 11:25)
- I do not fear the pains of death, for You are my joy
- I do not fear even the terrors of judgment, for You are my righteousness
Let the dew of Your divine grace and of Your quickening consolation be instilled into my languishing soul. My spirit is drying up within me, yet soon it shall exult in You. My flesh droops and languishes, but shortly it shall spring up again into new life. The nature of my body is such that I must undergo corruption, but from corruption You shall free me, as You have delivered me from every other evil. You, O God, have created me; and how can the work of Your hands perish? You have delivered me from all my enemies, how then could death alone prevail against me? You gave Your body, Your blood, and all that You had—even Your own self—for my salvation, and shall death then deprive me of that which was purchased with so costly a ransom?
O Lord Jesus—
- You are my righteousness; my sins shall not prevail against You
- You are the Resurrection and the Life; death shall not prevail against You
- You are God; Satan shall not prevail against You
You have given me the earnest of Your Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:22). In this do I glory, in this do I triumph. And most firmly do I believe, doubting nothing, that I shall by and by be admitted to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7). You, O my dearest spouse, are my wedding garment, which I put on in my baptism (Galatians 3:27); You will cover all my nakedness; nor shall I attempt to sew on to this most precious and beautiful garment the vile tatters of my own righteousness; for what is our righteousness in Your sight but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)? How could I then dare to patch the robe of Your glorious righteousness with my own abominable rags? In this robe will I appear before Your judgment seat, when You shall judge the world in righteousness and equity (Acts 17:31). In this garment shall I appear before You in Your heavenly kingdom; this robe shall so cover my confusion and shame that they will be remembered no more forever. Then shall I appear before Your face glorious and holy, and this flesh of mine, this body of mine, shall be clothed in Your radiant glory, even a glory that shall continue forever and ever. Come, Lord Jesus, come; and let him who loves You say, come (Revelation 22:20)!