The fall – the Sin of Adam
Adam, crafted by the hand of His creator, received the breath of life as the Father Himself breathed into his nostrils. He became a living soul, perfect, innocent, created in the very image of God. He was given responsibilities, to be priest, provider, protector, and freedoms; “I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the earth, it shall be food for you.” He was given responsibilities, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” God blessed him.
As husband and father, he was an instructor, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” He failed miserably in the application. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise she took from its fruit and ate; and give also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
He believed the lie. “You surely shall not die! For God know that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” His eyes now open, he knew he was naked. He heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden and hid himself. Confronted with his sin he blamed God and his wife for his failure, “The woman whom You gave to me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Using his own words, he receives a curse, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you…cursed is the ground because of you. By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, because from it you were taken. For you are dust and to dust you shall return.” With these words, we observe Ash Wednesday.
Nevertheless, from the ashes, with repentance and faith we, like Adam, rise to live a new life. For God has put enmity between the seed of the woman and the serpent. HE will crust his head. The serpent can only strike at HIS heel. The first Adam brought death and destruction to this earth. The Second Adam, Christ our Savior, has triumphed and brought restoration to this broken world. A new heaven and a new earth will come, according to His design. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday with ashes of repentance and with the hope of life out of the ashes. With the Lord Jesus in His suffering, humiliation, agony, and bloody sweat; and at the cross where He took our sins unto Himself. That great exchange – God’s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cross of His own Son!
Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing HouseSchnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission from WELS