Lectionary 10 B

Since that one, fateful evening walk, God has been trying to show us the power of love, forgiveness, and grace, even in the midst of suffering. God's will is good, yet we struggle so mightily against it.

Genesis 3:8-15

Chapter 3 does come up in passing at the end of Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 1: Original Sin (SD 1.61-62). The reference here is actually to Luther's own writings on Genesis 3 (LW 1:160-82) where he makes the argument against the total depravity of human nature by reminding us that our nature is still as it was created--good. What looks like total depravity is a corruption that can be removed, an illness that can be cured, an addiction from which recovery is possible.

"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
-- Genesis 3:15

Verse 15 is quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 2: Original Sin (AP 2.46) as a counterpoint to the idea that we are able to keep God's commandments. This verse is the initial spark of spiritual warfare, for here humanity is set against the devil and all those forces that defy God's will.

Verse 15 is also cited through editorial insert near the end of Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 5: Law and Gospel (SD 5.23) pointing along with several other passages to the foreshadowing of Jesus' victory over the devil through his cross and resurrection.

Psalm 130

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
-- Psalm 130:3-4

Verses 3 and 4 are quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 4: Justification (AP 4.58) in a section that reads Jesus into the Hebrew scriptures. The focus, however, is that the psalmist here does not look to works for salvation, but directly to God and God's forgiveness.

Verse 3 is quoted a bit later in the same article (AP 4.179) with several other scriptural passages to show that even saints cannot stand before God's judgment, driving home pleas for God's mercy.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
-- Psalm 130:7-8

Verses 7 and 8 are cited in Smalcald Articles, Part 3, Article 3: Concerning Repentance (SA 3.3.8) as a reminder that God offers redemption in many ways, not the least of which is in the Word and sacraments.

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.
-- 2 Corinthians 4:16


Ahem. I mean, pardon me while I try to contain myself.

Verse 4:16 is quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 12: Repentance (AP 12.152ish) as Melanchthon thinks through why even saints die. If troubles in this life are punishment for our sins, the thinking goes, why then do God's elect experience difficulties? Melanchthon's answer is where theology of vocation and theology of the cross meet:

The cross, therefore, is not a punishment [for God's saints] but an exercise and preparation for renewal. For when present sin is put to death and when in the midst of temptations we learn to seek the aid of God and experience God's presence, we acknowledge more and more the lack of trust in our own hearts and we encourage ourselves by faith.
-- Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 12: Repentance, Paragraph 152ish


We are Jesus' family as we do God's will. Following God's will took Jesus to his cross. Why would we expect anything different in our lives? Why do we think that following Jesus will make everything easy? If following Jesus makes us victors with Christ over sin, death, and the devil, there will still be challenges to overcome. Otherwise what is there to be victorious over? But what does all this mean for our families?