The requests we made of God in today’s Collect summarize the Readings perfectly. Both Moses and Jesus showed us how impossible the Law is. Jesus shows us how easy it is to break the Law, especially when it comes to adultery and murder. We may think we are doing okay, but our hearts produce all kinds of evil. Before our hands or feet or eyes even have a chance to sin, the heart is already long down the path. The only hope we have in this life and the next is that God, of His great mercy, would keep us in His grace.
If you read the first page of today’s Bulletin, you saw an explanation about the Readings for the next few weeks. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth your time to read later today. The next several weeks in this long Trinity season will take a look at the topic of sanctification, that is, our Christian life and how we live the faith, especially how we’re doing with that phrase from the Post-Communion Collect, living in faith toward God and fervent love toward one another.
Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.