One of the great benefits of drilling my progeny in the Small Catechism is that I review it for myself. I find that when I go back to the Enchiridion and repeat it word for word, as Doctor Luther advises us, I constantly find new and wonderful things in the old, familiar words. I honestly don’t think I would have done that for myself had I not been gifted with children by the Lord God, but I thank Him for them, and for the chance to dwell on what God tells us.
I had another such moment the other day. We’re drilling the Third Article of the Creed right now, along with its explanation. As we went through it, I was struck forcefully by the following words:
In this Christian Church He daily and fully forgives all sins to me and all believers.
This is such a basic truth that we sometimes pass over it. Ask your average layperson what God does for them, and along with feeding them and caring for them, defending them from danger, etc, they will invariably mention that God forgives their sins. But sometimes I fear that we spin that phrase off our lips without our brains or our hearts truly engaging it or learning what it means.
Note how Luther dwells on that forgiveness. Daily and fully — so you don’t have to wait for it; so you don’t have to work off the rest of our sin, or part of it, as we’re accustomed to doing with the people in our lives. Too often we treat each other in that way: “Okay, I forgive this offense — mostly — but I’ll hold your past sins over your head, and if you mess up again I’ll trot this time out. Just so you don’t forget I’m better than you.”
God doesn’t do that with us…even though He could. He knows all things, and yet He promises to remember our sins no more (Jer 31:34). How wonderfully amazing is that? God, who knows all things, even the things that could have happened but didn’t, promises that He will forget and not actively remember your sins anymore! They are gone — sunk in the sea of Christ’s blood, which He poured out on the cross! (Micah 7:19) “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Rom 8:1) So rejoice! Forgiveness comes to you, daily and fully, through faith in Jesus’ blood. You are well-pleasing to God, even despite your imperfections and your faults and your flaws and your shortcomings, when you are in Christ, because “He daily and fully forgives all sins to me and all believers in Christ.”
So come to Him — hear His promises — believe the good news! Be what you are — a rotten sinner — so that He may make you as He is — holy, perfect, and sinless! Through faith in His Son, you are forgiven. It is possible! Repent and believe the good news!