Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

This Is the Man of Faith.

Lent 4, Wednesday Evening                       March 17, 2021


Deuteronomy 9:29-29

Thus I prostrated myself before the LORD; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the LORD had said He would destroy you. 26 “Therefore I prayed to the LORD, and said: ‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have re­deemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 27 ‘Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or their sin, 28 lest the land from which You brought us should say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them to the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them in the wilderness.” 29 Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your out­stretched arm.’


Hebrews 9:1-28

Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earth­ly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; 8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the con­science—10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the great­er and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 There­fore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. 23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.


Catechism Emphasis: What Baptism Indicates, Fourth Part

What does such baptizing with water indicate?

It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contri­tion and repentance be drown­ed and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

St. Paul writes in Romans chapter six:  “We were there­fore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” [Rom. 6:4]



In the Name of Jesus.


The Catechism gives us two Adams. That’s how it speaks of us, as Old Adam and New Adam.


The first Adam is our sinful nature. It is our sinful flesh. It is the life we live by virtue of our natural birth, the life we live as children in the lineage of Adam, our father, who rebelled against God our creator by eating of the fruit not given him to eat.


Because Adam sinned, all those in his lineage inherit sin, so that we are all by nature sinful and unclean.


That’s the first Adam, our sinful nature, our life of flesh.


But that is the Adam which the waters of Holy Baptism put to death in drowning. As the Catechism puts it,

What does such baptizing with water indicate?

It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.


The problem, of course, is that the old Adam refuses to die. As long as we are in this flesh, we continue in sin. And we will continue this until the day we die, when our sinful flesh is finally done away with, and the old Adam has no more voice.


But until then, we rejoice in Baptism, where the old Adam is by daily contrition and repentance drowned and killed with all sins and evil desires.


And from the killing waters of Baptism, out walks the new man.


The new Adam—that’s the second Adam—so that, as the Catechism puts it,

a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.



This is the man of faith.


For the old Adam, we need no faith; we know him by sight. We see him every time we see our own sin, or we tremble at travail in our sinful world.  The old Adam we know by our sight and our senses and our minds—we know him all too well.


But the new Adam is the man not of sight, but of faith.


The new man of faith created by the Holy Spirit, this is the man daily standing up out of the water of Baptism—he has no righteousness of his own, but clings to the righteousness of Christ Jesus. This new Adam, this man of faith, lives in no shame, will not be put to death, but stands before God in righteousness forever.


That’s what it means to have a clean conscience. This is the conscience cleansed of the dead works of the old Adam and brought into honor. That’s what the letter to the Hebrews speaks of when it tells us of the blood of Christ our Lord:

The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanses your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

[Hebrews 9:14]



The blood of Christ Jesus cleanses your conscience. It cleanses the conscience because it was in his bleeding and dying on the cross that all our sins were put to death—that is, he was on our behalf clothed in our Old Adam, and he died in our place.


Now, because we are baptized into him, baptism joining us to him and his cross, Baptism is where we find the death of our old Adam, our sinful flesh.


But out of the waters of Baptism, daily the new Adam stands up in faith. For Baptism joins us not only to our Lord’s cross, but also to his resurrection, so that our daily life of Baptism is a daily standing up again in faith. For just as Christ our Lord stood up living out of the grave, so the promise of Baptism is that we are daily made to stand, alive in the righteousness of Christ our Lord.


And all this because the blood of Jesus was shed for our sins. And because Jesus is resurrected and living, the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us of all sin, as he continues to intercede for us before his Father in Heaven.


So that, our consciences are clean!


How can we say any less of the blood of Jesus, than that it cleanses us of all sin? How can we say any less of Baptism, than that it daily puts to death our old Adam of sin and shame, and daily brings forth the new man of faith?


In the Name of Jesus.