Editing the Gospel, Daily Reform, Day 18

Galatians 1:1-5 & Hebrews 7:24-27

From the Reformer

Make ample use of this pronoun “our.” Be assured that Christ has canceled the sins, not of certain persons only, but your sins. Do not permit yourself to be robbed of this lovely conception of Christ. Christ is no Moses, no law-giver, no tyrant, but the Mediator for sins, the Giver of grace and life.

We know this. Yet in the actual conflict with the devil, when he scares us with the Law, when he frightens us with the very person of the Mediator, when he misquotes the words of Christ, and distorts for us our Savior, we so easily lose sight of our sweet High-Priest.

For this reason I am so anxious for you to gain a true picture of Christ out of the words of Paul: “who gave himself for our sins.” Obviously, Christ is no judge to condemn us, for He gave Himself for our sins. He does not trample the fallen but raises them. He comforts the broken-hearted. Otherwise Paul should lie when he writes “who gave himself for our sins.”

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

The child was in hiding, guilt-ridden, but also afraid of his Dad’s anger. His Dad was bewildered. He had always forgiven him, always helped him out of a mess, always loved him.

Guilt does this to us. If held onto, guilt becomes an irrational fear. It begins with feeling badly about some wrongdoing. If the guilt is held to long enough it becomes a fear of the one whom we feel badly about displeasing. It has little or nothing to do with how that person actually thinks of us. It is simply a feeling that has grown and twisted in our minds.

It is best to look at guilt objectively. What does the Gospel tell us God did for us? Answer: He died for our sins. Why did he die for our sins? Answer: because he loves us. Which sins is the Gospel speaking of — ones committed before belief or also those committed after saving faith? Answer: Christ died for your sins because he loves you. Do not let your guilt edit the Gospel. God loves you. He died for your sins — all of them. Every last one of them. If this were not true, he would have to be sacrificed again for your subsequent sins. This, of course, cannot be done, nor is there a need for it, as is written by another hand: “we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (italics mine, Heb 10:10)

The short of it is: God still loves and you have been sanctified by the one offering of Christ — not by your ability to remain guilt-free. Paradoxically, one may actually live largely free of guilt by knowing and believing that good news.

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