Announcements for Week of March 11, 2018

The Close of the Commandments

TwoTabletsWhat does God say about all of these commandments? He says, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:5-6).

 

Luther on Hebrews

He who fears death or is unwilling to die is not a Christian to a sufficient degree; for those who fear death still lack faith in the resurrection, since they love this life more than they love the life to come. Properly speaking, they are those about whom Ps. 106:24 says: “They despised the pleasant land.” He who does not die willingly should not be called a Christian. Therefore Chrysostom, with reference to this passage, censures those who mourn the dead. He says: “Those who truly deserve to be mourned are those who still fear death and shudder, who still do not believe in the resurrection.” Therefore when such people pray “Thy kingdom come,” they either do not pray at all or they pray against themselves; that is, they mock both God and themselves, and they have been baptized in vain, since, according to what the apostle says in Rom. 6:3–4, as many of us as are baptized into the death of Christ are certainly baptized to accept death quickly and to attain to the image of Christ more quickly. But you might say: “I do not fear death, but I do fear an evil death, because ‘the death of sinners is the worst, and evils shall destroy the unrighteous man’ ” (cf. Ps. 34:22). But he who says this proves clearly that he is deficient in faith in Christ, for he does not believe that Christ is “the Lamb of God who takes away his sins” (cf. John 1:29). For the less firmly this is believed, the more death is feared; and the more firmly it is believed, the more confidently death is despised. For it is true that only the awareness of sin makes death dreadful, because “sin is the sting of death” (1 Cor. 15:56). But only faith in Christ removes the awareness of sin; for “the victory has been given to us through Jesus Christ,” as stated above (cf. 1 Cor. 15:57). For God makes death, judgment, and hell manifest in order to show the power of faith in Christ, so that a Christian may overcome these through faith. For those dreadful things are nothing else than exercises through which faith should become “strong as death and hard as hell” (cf. Song of Sol. 8:6), although they try vigorously with might and violence to separate the heart from trust in Christ. (Luther’s Works Vol 29, 137–138)

 

18-03-11, Lent 4, BA-2018B

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