In the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism that we’re using for our creed during Lent, it says that our comfort in life and in death is found in the fact that our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ has fully paid for all our sins with His precious blood and set us free from the tyranny of the devil. Paul says in Colossians that God has forgiven all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us, by nailing it to the cross (Col. 2:13-14). Hebrews says that Jesus shared our flesh and blood so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Heb. 2:14-15). In Revelation 5, the elders and living creatures fall down before the Lamb singing, “Worthy are you to take the scroll, and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…”
Putting all of this together, demonstrates that Heidelberg has it exactly right. Jesus is the perfect lamb of God who suffered, bled, and died for the sins of the world, and your sins were included in that number. When Jesus died for your sins, He took them all away, and He did this by paying for them completely. He did not purchase your sins at a discount. He did not trick the devil and shoplift you from the power of death. No, it is your guilt that keeps you enslaved to the fear of death. The wages of sin is death, and therefore the only way Jesus delivers the slaves of the fear of death is by delivering them from their guilt completely. This is what Paul means by the record of debt being nailed to the cross. That means the charges that the devil (or anyone else) might bring against any one of us were nailed to the cross of Jesus. He paid for our sins. He suffered for our guilt. He died that we might be go free. And this meal is the authorized declaration by Jesus that all of this is true. Are you a sinner? Then come. Are you ashamed? Then come. Are you afraid? Then come and welcome.
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