This year we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the start of the Reformation when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Wittenburg Castle Church. To honor this historic event we have organized our Lenten devotions into 7 weekly categories starting with Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday. These are in addition to the 3 weekly blogs on the Sunday liturgy.
The first 6 categories of these Lenten parallel the major chapters of Luther’s Small Catechism.
March 1 – 7 The Ten Commandments – God’s Holiness
March 8 – 14 The Creed – God’s Truth
March 15 – 21 The Lord’s Prayer – God’s Kindness
March 22 – 28 The Sacrament of Baptism – God’s Grace
March 29 – April 4 Confession – God’s Forgiveness
April 5 – 11 The Sacrament of the Altar – God’s Presence
April 12 – 16 Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
So as you read and meditate on the Scriptures involved, do so with these categories in mind so you may grow in the wisdom of the Lord.
“. . .for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5-6)
As we start our Lenten journey, we begin our reflections with the 10 Commandments. These commands contain the fundamentals of God’s Law. They reflect His holiness and show us that He hates sin and abhors idolatry. He gives them to us so so that we may obey Him and be holy as He is Holy, able to dwell in His eternal presence without fear. But we cannot obey.
The first commandment forbids the worship of any god in place of Him. Those who are disobedient to this command, indeed to any and all of the commandments that follow, cannot enter into the Lord’s presence. And we all disobey, we all usurp the place of God when we fail to trust Him, when we think we know better than He what is right.
And the Lord knows this. And so He delights to extend mercy to thousands of those who obey His commands. How do we obey? By faith! He grants us the faith in Jesus for Jesus obeyed perfectly on our behalf by going to the cross and dying for our sin. Our faith in Jesus as our righteousness enables us to enter into God’s Holy presence. By the faith He grants us, we are in Christ Jesus deemed to be as Holy as He is.