Ash Wednesday "...for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." —Genesis 3:19

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday begins Lent—the forty days prior to Easter. During Lent, the Church focuses on the obedience, suffering, and death of Christ. As a sign of this repentance, we begin with ashes imposed on our foreheads as a solemn reminder, not only of the frailty of our flesh and mortality of our bodies, but of God's curse upon us from His Holy Law: "...for you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19).

"...the wages of sin is death" [Romans 6:23]

Are Any Without Sin?

The Bible clearly says, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Many try to calm their guilty conscience by denying their sin, but the Bible says, "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). Although some may refuse to confess it, none can escape its consequence: "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

Our sin is not only something we have done, but it's also what we've inherited. We've received both the sin and guilt of our first parents—Adam and Eve. What else could sinners beget but a sinner? As a result, we have not only procured the sickness of sin, but we are doomed to suffer its consequence: death. Not only does the Bible teach us that we are born in sin—"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5)—but experience also testifies to this agonizing reality when we witness miscarriages and still births.

What Hope Do We Have?

Our hope is not in science, technology, or "progress." Nothing has solved the problem of evil, guilt, and death. The world has tried with all its might to soothe and heal this mortal wound, but it only stutters and stammers while failing to give true hope. Our only hope is Jesus. Our dear Lord, the Author and Giver of Life (Psalm 36:9), is the only cure for death. As this world fails to answer, our God boldly asserts: "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live" (John 11:25).

Christ For You

Christ: Our Only Hope

Jesus is the solution to the problem of sin, death, and the power of the devil. His death is the death of death; His life is the life of life. He is the solution to our sin and the antidote to our mortality. He is the One who has appeased the wrath of God against us: "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). In Christ, God is for us; therefore, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Since we could not save ourselves, Christ saved us while we were yet dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2). Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." The Bible says that Jesus saves us from all sin—even the sin we were born with: "You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." [1 Peter 1:18-19]

The saving grace of God is not found in God's power or sovereignty, but it has been gained for us by Christ. Faith that justifies isn't any kind of belief, but justifying faith confesses Jesus as "the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16), "who gave Himself as a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:6).

"Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." —John 1:29

Conclusion:

Even while our bodies slowly turn back into the dust we now find on our flesh, we boldly confess: "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!" (Job 19:25-27). Christ has promised to resurrect you, to lift you up from the dust and ash on that Final Day.

Dear saints: This Ash Wednesday, be of good cheer—"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you" (Romans 16:20).

“Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:21). Therefore, "We preach Christ crucified" [1 Corinthians 1:23]
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Pastor Rojas+
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