During Lent, Concordia Mediates on Psalm 16 and Christ’s Active Obedience to Fulfill All Righteousness for All Men and Save Men from their Sins.
During Lent, Concordia will meditate on Christ’s Active Obedience for our salvation revealed in Psalm 16, a Messianic psalm. A Messianic psalm is a psalm the reveals to us the Person and Work of Christ for our salvation. Luther captions his translation of Psalm 16: “Prophesy Concerning the Suffering and Resurrection of Christ.”
Christ’s Active Obedience refers to Christ fulfilling all of God’s commandments for all men because we have failed to do so. Jesus says: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” St. Matthew 5:17. Likewise, Jesus says at His Baptism: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” St. Matthew 3:15. St. Paul writes: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:4-5.
The Catechism teaches us of Christ’s Active Obedience: “As my Priest, Christ fulfilled the Law in my stead perfectly (active obedience), sacrificed Himself for me (passive obedience), and still intercedes (pleads) for me with His heavenly Father.” Question 132 B, p. 108.
In the midst of Christ’s Passion, He continued to obey God and trust in Him: “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” The First Commandment say, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” Christ states that He is trusting in God and also later on eschews other gods (v. 4). This work is the fulfilling of the First Commandment and, thereby, all the commandments. This them runs throughout Psalm 16, e.g. verse 7 wherein Christ expresses His obeying God from His innermost being.
Furthermore, this immaculate obedience occurs in the midst of His suffering for our sins. The gates of hell, thereby, cannot prevail against the Church because Christ obeys God even in the midst of God’s rejection of Him for our sins.
And through this Active Obedience of Christ, the human race is preserved. Hence, Christ prayed, “Preserve me, O God ... .” Christ prayed for this preservation not for Himself – He’s God and He has no need of this human experience or righteousness – but rather for us, for all men, who lack the righteousness that avails before God. Through Christ’s Active Obedience in the midst of His Passive Obedience, Christ redeems and saves and preserves the human race.
And this blessed and wonderful work of Christ’s makes Lent not a dreary season, but a joyful season of refreshment in the Gospel. The Ash Wednesday sermon reflects this truth that because of the work of Christ for us, the season of Lent refreshes us and strengthens faith because it takes us back to the Gospel and the blessings that flow from it.
Festival of Ash Wednesday