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Oprah Absolution

Posted by Pastor Christopher Hull on

The Church is in the business of forgiving sinners, and my friends, business is a boomin. Every day the devil, the world, the Old Adam, and death awake in man his desires to sin. We desire to lust, envy what our neighbor has been given, and we grow in anxiety and depression. In short, there is no short supply of sin and sinners in this world. The answer to sin then is not the Law, for the law no peace can ever give. The law does curb sin, reveal sin, and give the baptized a guide in how to live the baptismal life. However, the law cannot create a new heart in man that desires to live in faith toward God and in fervent love toward everyone. No. The only way man lives the baptismal life, in confidence that God loves him and therefore loving all around him, is by being forgiven all of his sins. 

On the cross, Jesus assumed and claimed as His very own the sins of every man, woman, and child from Adam all the way to the last man. Jesus Himself said, "The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served, and give His life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28).  St. Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia saying, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us, for as it is written, 'cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.'" (Galatians 3:13).  And again, St. Peter wrote to the church confessing, " He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." (1st Peter 2:22-25).  Jesus did not claim as His own only huge sins that people can't bear on their own, nor did He only assume the sins of the righteous people to help them get the rest of the way in their faith walk. No. On the cross, Jesus died as The Sinner, the one who bore the sins of the whole world, down to the smallest sin the world could imagine. On the cross, Jesus died for all the sinners from Adam the weak to Thomas the Doubter. He died for all the sins of every sinner in order that forgiveness could be proclaimed to every sinner. Jesus died for every sinner so that all who lack the glory of God may not die eternally, but instead live as a perfect child of God forever in heaven. 

The church then is that place where the absolution Jesus purchased and won on the cross is handed over and proclaimed freely and as often as possible. Just like Oprah does on her show, everyone gets a prize, everyone has something under their seat. Instead of telling everyone they get a new cell phone, tacos for life, or the latest best selling book, the pastor stands before the altar, behind the pulpit, and from the font saying, "You are forgiven, and You are forgiven, and You are forgiven, and You are forgiven. Everyone is forgiven. Everyone gets the same gifts of the cross, Everyone is covered fully in the righteousness of Christ Jesus our Lord. You are going to heaven, and You are going to heaven, and You are going to heaven." Absolution, meaning God forgives you and remembers your sins no more, is given to you and all in Christ Jesus. Take heart in this my friends, you are forgiven, and absolution will never be in short supply for you.

Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.

Jesus' Sheepdog


Tags: forgiveness, jesus, oprah