Ash Wednesday gets its name from the ancient custom of ashes smeared on the forehead and the words spoken which were first addressed to Adam, “Remember, dust you are and to dust you shall return.” It makes one stop and think about the brevity of life. It’s a stark and somber reminder that the sin of our first parents still reverberates down through the millennia to us and our descendants. “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). David wrote, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5).
What can you do with dust? What can it do for itself? Despite all the technological advances and scientific discoveries in the world’s history, dust is still dust. One of the basic lessons of the Lenten season is that all people are born sinners, and all face death as its wages.
There is, though, another truth which the Lord reveals in His Word. Incredibly, there is hope for dust. In the beginning God formed the first man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living being. That same creative power of God breathes new spiritual life into our sinful “dust.” “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
In the Word the Holy Spirit shows us Jesus’ cross where He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. With that Word the Spirit breathes new life into us through faith. We who once were dead in sins are now alive in Christ. Our debt before God has been paid in full. We have forgiveness, peace, and purpose. We live for the Savior now and look forward to the wonders of the new creation when Jesus comes again in glory. Dust we are, and to dust we shall return, but there is certain hope for that dust. It has been redeemed by Christ, given new spiritual life, and at the Savior’s call will be raised to life everlasting. God loves you that much!
Services tomorrow are at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday school begins at 9:15 a.m. and adult Bible class at 9:30 a.m. The adult Bible class will continue the discussion of “10 Lies About God.”