God Lifts the Weight Off

 
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It's difficult, even painful, for Christians to daily suffer the full weight of our past sin. Often our past drives us forward like a blind animal fleeing from the sound of the hunter. Wherever we go it's always there, our sin, made so brutally clear to us in hindsight, like a big ship's anchor chained to our foot. Also, in this world, we most often bear the weight of past sin alone. Other Christians can't and won't carry it for us; no one wants to take it from us, and nobody wants to break the chain or do something that will ultimately relieve us of the weight. And why should they? They've got their own sinful burden to bear. In this world, not our family, friends, ex-anyone, not even our children can remove the weight of past sin from us because ultimately that weight is the cross. To be specific, Jesus crucified for the sin of the world.

On the other hand, through faith in Jesus crucified for our sin, we confess that there is only One who can (and has) lifted the weight of our past sin - that terrible, terrifying cross we attempt to bear alone apart from Jesus - off of us. All the weight of our sin is lifted by Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future. He did this for us because He loves us, and there's nothing we can do about it!

All the weight of our sin is lifted by Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future.
— Donavon Riley

Our past sin isn't ours to drag along behind us anymore. Our past sin belongs to Jesus. It’s the same with today's sin and every "today's sin" hereafter. The whole weight of our sin is lifted off us and put on Jesus' shoulders. He crucified it all on Golgotha and left it all buried in a tomb outside Jerusalem some two thousand years ago. Our past, present, and future sin really and truly belong to Jesus. And those people, no matter what their name, title, and relationship to us are not given the freedom or the authority to chain us up to sin again.

Whether past, present, or future, our confession is: "Jesus alone, Jesus for all." What does this mean? Jesus alone suffered, bled, died, and rose from the dead for the sin of the world. No one else can forgive us, give us life, and lead us to eternal salvation. Only Jesus does this, and He has done this already by choosing to bear the full weight of our sin in His bloody suffering and death.

Why does He choose us when there's so very little about us that we and the world would consider forgivable or lovable? Because He made us in the secret of our mother's womb. He brought us out into this broken, sinful, dark world. He chooses to bless us with the water of Baptism. At the same time, He chooses to mark us once and for all time with His cross on our forehead and with His name which is even to this day on us and can never be removed, erased, or washed off. In Baptism, we've put on Christ, as the Apostle Paul writes, and no one and nothing can ever tear Him off of us.

And having been brought out of the blessed waters of Baptism by our heavenly Father, and having grown up before Him, we know for certain we've been chosen by God, received by Him into His family of ugly, broken, self-serving sinners Jesus calls "saints." How wonderful is God's kindness to us that not only does He lift the full weight of sin off us, but He then baptizes us and calls us son and daughter on account of Jesus.

In Baptism, we're chosen sons and daughters of God and brothers and sisters to Christ Jesus. And this is not of our choosing; this is a gift of God on account of what Christ Jesus did and does and will continue to do for us by lifting the full weight of sin off us at Calvary.

We don’t have to fear our past sin, or the world chaining us back up to our past sin.
— Donavon Riley

We don't have to fear our past sin, or the world chaining us back up to our past sin. If we listen carefully we'll hear the Good News that it's not our past sin they want us to take back up, but their sin. Sure they dress it up and try to pass it off as "yours," but scratch the surface and the lie evaporates. They're exposed for who they are: the old Adam, the old sinner, trying to perform the same tricks he's been acting out since the garden. Turn away from their tricks. They don't have their minds set on the things of heaven. They don't want to build us up but rather lead us away from Christ, leading us back to the crushing weight of our sin, which Jesus has already lifted off us once and for all time. We don't have to worry about sin being put back on us because nothing and no one can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ that will never allow the weight of sin to pull us down and away from Jesus.

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Manager for Higher Things, a contributing writer for 1517, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. He is also the co-host of The Banned Books podcast and the As Lutheran As It Gets podcast.



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