The Gospel we proclaim here isn’t a Gospel meant for the back of the junk drawer. We don’t proclaim the remission of some sins, if they qualify. This isn’t some divine lottery where only one in a million have hope of hitting the jackpot. Nor is it a web of bureaucratic red tape, requiring a team of lawyers to sort through in order to find the loophole to avoid tax penalties.
This Gospel, which the church is tasked to believe & proclaim, is a Gospel for the whole world. It is a Gospel not of defeat. It is not Good News but only if you squint. Rather, Christ died for the sins of His people. You are clean. Your death for sin has been died. Christ has arisen, to eternal life, and by faith you share in that life. Christ is at the Father’s right hand, thrones & angels are made subject unto Him, and You are in Him. The God of peace, we are told, shall soon crush Satan under your feet.
As we prepare to confess our sin, we ought not to do so as whipped puppies. Yes, we’ve sinned against our Lord, and we should grieve. But we should come boldly, even audaciously. Where else can you find forgiveness for your sins, but in the One who took your sin by the throat, dragged it into the grave, and emerged alive without your sin.
The saints of God are more than conquerors. The church isn’t just an accountability group to commiserate over our blasted failures. Rather, we’re those who’ve overcome this world, because we’ve laid hold of Christ the triumphant, Christ the overcomer, Christ the King. So when you kneel to confess your sins, you do so as a beloved & forgiven child. When you rise, you remain in the bright glory of God’s favor. So, act like it.
The Lord, after all, hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind. All too often, we go about as if the Gospel wasn’t efficacious, as if we still dwelt in Old Testament darkness, as if we were still slaves to sin. But the Lord promises to us true and lasting forgiveness for all our sin, past, present, and future; if we confess. As we confess, our Father fortifies our hearts so that we rest assured that in this grace which He pour upon us is not just forgiveness for the sins we confess, but grace to grow in grace, grace to slit the throat of our lusts, pride, envy, greed, and gluttony. He gives us all this, because He has given us Christ.
The Christian life is summed up in that wonderful quote from the famous hymn-writer and former slave trader John Newton: “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner — and that Christ is a great Savior!” So, though you have sinned, God, in Christ, reckons you a saint. And if a saint, more than a conqueror.