Reflections: January 21, 2021
Thursday of the Second Week after the Epiphany
By William K. Stottlemyer
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. (Small Catechism: Second Commandment)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Oh, how often we break this commandment! It seems as if we daily fail to treat the Name of the Lord with the respect, honor, and love that it deserves. From the swear words we speak to parents and friends to the lies that fill our lives, you and I constantly break the Second Commandment. God is not held in esteem, and we do not pray to Him as we should. Praise and thanks are too infrequent on our lips. Instead, our lives are filled with selfish, sinful desires, and our actions are shameful. We do not keep the Second Commandment, and according to the Law, that means we have broken all of the commands of the Lord.
What a sad state of affairs for us! Left to our own actions, we would stand before the Lord on the Day of Judgment with no hope. Our lives and deeds are all the evidence that God would need to send us to hell. We are sinners who have done no good things. But thanks be to God that we do not stand before Him alone. Paul writes in Romans: "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Romans 10:3). This means that Jesus is our life and our salvation. He has fulfilled the Law, and because of His death on the Cross, we no longer fear the Day of Judgment. Instead of standing alone in our filthy rags, we are clothed by Christ with His righteousness; by His blood we are purified of all our sins.
Because of this great gift given to us by faith, we now die to sin and live to God by following the Ten Commandments out of faithful obedience to the One who has redeemed us. All of this comes to us by the working of the Holy Spirit as we live by faith. Every morning the waters of Baptism drown out the old man and bring to life the new man in Christ. It is this man who is equipped to fear and love God so that we might call upon Him in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, I am your sin, You are my righteousness; therefore I am safe. My sin will not suppress Your righteousness and Your righteousness will not leave me a sinner. Blessed by God, my merciful Lord and Redeemer! I trust in You alone and thus I will never be put to shame. Amen. (Matthew Carver, trans., Lutheran Prayer Companion [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2018], 170.)
-Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is the pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.
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