Reflections: March 24, 2021
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
By Aaron T. Fenker
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Big problem here. Your heart covets. It wants. There's nothing you can even do about it! You can control your actions, you can stop your passions, your desires from becoming actions, sometimes. As long as you don't like that sin too much. Repent!
God commands the impossible. As if the first eight commandments weren't bad enough, He tells us, "I don't just want outward holiness. I want inner holiness in your heart, soul, mind, and strength." The Ninth Commandment reminds us--how easily we forget!--things we learned in all the commandments. Here we see clear as day what God's really driving at: You shall have no other gods. Because all the things we crave, the people we lust after, the desires we give in to, even the desires we don't--all those things are our gods.
"You're just telling people they can sin." Not one bit. Don't sin. The Ninth Commandment shows us how terminal our problem is, how deep it goes. Even that passing glance--hell, forever. We have a sinfulness problem. That sinfulness produces desires. Those desires produce actions--sins! And from beginning to end, the diagnosis, the judgment, the penalty, the payment for sinfulness, desires, and sins is the same: death.
Thanks be to God Jesus also desired. He desired your place. So he took it at Calvary. He did because Jesus desired to save you. Calvary much. Christ took your desires, your coveting, your lusts, your temptations, as His own. Your sins, too. All of it He claimed. No sins of His own to speak of, no sinful desires even. Yours given to Him by way of imputation, charged to His account, and so no longer charged to yours.
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that we would become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). That's what you are in Jesus. Only in Him do you have a "clean heart." Only in Jesus do you have a right Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Yours through Baptism, through the inspired Word. Jesus' cleansing blood in the Supper. No desiring to suddenly find a clean heart in yourself and your own behavior. You have a clean heart, a not-coveting heart, only in Jesus alone. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
"Yes, Father, yes most willingly I'll bear what You command Me. My will conforms to Your decree, I'll do what You have asked Me." O wondrous Love, what have You done! The Father offers up His Son, Desiring our salvation. O Lord, how strong You are to save! You lay the One into the grave Who built the earth's foundation. ("A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth" LSB 438, st.3)
-Rev. Aaron T. Fenker is the pastor of Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Bremen, KS.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
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