“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).
When we renew covenant here with the Lord, God is reminding us of His promises to us, but we are also remembering the vows that we have made to the Lord. God’s promise is to forgive all our sins and to present us before His throne faultless, spotless, and perfect, for the sake of Christ who died and rose again. And faith is the only means of receiving that glorious promise. And God gives that faith needed to believe that promise, and that gift of faith can do. nothing other than rest in God’s promise.
But at the very moment of this justification, God awakens in every Christian the desire to follow Christ, to obey Christ, to deny self, and a glad willingness to lose life itself for the sake of Christ, eager to find eternal life in Christ, eager to praise Him all our days. And this too is what we remember and celebrate in this meal. We remember justification – our secure, forgiven standing in Christ alone, by faith alone, but we also remember our sanctification, that in Christ, we want nothing but to chase after Christ, to follow after Him, to take up our cross out of grateful love for His cross, to lose our lives as living sacrifices to His praise, that we might find true life in Him. We are eating and proclaiming both of these realities. We are eating and drinking the proclamation of His justifying grace, and that grace wells up within us, burning with desire to follow Him, to obey Him, to imitate Him, to lose our lives and so find them fully in Him.
And this is because for those who have met Jesus, all of His commands are more grace. For those who know Christ, every cross is full of mercy and love, because everything God gives is for our good. The new heart of Christian life sees the hardships, the sacrifices, the loss, the suffering, the pain, even death itself as nothing but the birth pangs of glory. Look! Christ won by His death, and now He is winning in the same way in us.
So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.