• on March 3, 2020

Sermon for Ash Wednesday

James 2:10
(Recite the 10 Commandments) Like this past Sunday at Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments was supposed to be a good thing. Today…there’s still truth to that. Martin Luther was adamant about their inclusion in his Small Catechism…one of the few writings of his he actively promoted. He instructed his own kids to recite them every morning and every evening and usually after dinner as well. He was not, as some of his enemies would label him during his lifetime, an antinomian, or an opposed to God’s law kind of person. He saw it as profitable for God’s people. It’s the reason there’s an old and well loved Lutheran hymn callled The Law of God is Good and Wise. But — on this day when we are reminded that we are dust and ashes in God’s sight — the Ten Commandments are too often stark reminders of why that is. And, as you heard James, it don’t take much to break the entire thing. Thankfully, though the curses in the garden apply to us…so does the sweet promise.

Adam didn’t have Ten Commandments. He had one. Just. One. This tree…don’t eat from it. Dass it. You no eat the fruit. Commandment ehad (1) in Hebrew. We, of course, know how that turned out. As Doctor Biermann once remarked it was simply unthinkable — crazy even — that Adam would decide to turn his back on God, who would walk in the garden as a complete friend of man. Why on earth would anyone wanna lose that??? But alas he did. And then the curses come. And here, in the light of God’s holy law and Ten Commandments, we ourselves are transferred to this garden. Not to admire what must’ve still been a most beautiful place. But to hear our names addressed in regards to these curses. To Adam he said… To Joe he said… To [insert name here] he said… The Ten Commandments put the dust and ashes in Ash Wednesday. Not because the law isn’t good. But rather because we ain’t. The wages of sin…or the wages of even breakin one of these commandments…is death. Dust to dust.

But we don’t just share in the various curses that sin brought into the world. We share in the glorious promise as well. God himself would undo the work of sin and Satan with the seed of the woman. Even on Ash Wednesday…we get a glimpse of Christmas, don’t we? Mary’s greater Son would come, and as Christians living in 2020, we know that most certainly happened. His heel would be bruised on our behalf. And on Adam’s, as he tasted the death we are guilty of because of breaking the Ten Commandments…but he was not in the least guilty of. He would cover our many iniquities when we had set God’s Ten Commandments aside and broke them time after time. He would save us not partially, halfway, or even mostly. He would save us fully and completely in the Father’s eyes. We who endure sin’s curses now are guaranteed peace in eternity because of the Messiah. (Recite the Ten Commandments) So that now, these need not always be a crushing weight, but a joy for God’s redeemed children.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for this! Great reminder of the Law’s need but the Gospel’s peace.

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