INI + AMEN.
Your sins are either on Jesus, or they’re on you. If He takes them, they’re no longer yours. And He really does take them! Your anger, your lusts, your temper, your drinking, your naughty search history, your gossip, your not helping others, your helping some and not others—all your sins, every last one, aren’t your sins anymore. He’s also taken every single way the world has always turned away from God. In fact, “He became sin for us,” as Paul says. So, what’s the problem? Well, it’s like I said: your sins are either on Jesus, or they’re on you.
((2. We hang on to our sins to fix them.))
We live our lives as if our sins aren’t taken away by Jesus. Not really. Is Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away sins? Full stop. If we’re honest, there’s always running a tally of how you’re doing, how others are doing, how you’re improving or not improving. How you are today as compared to how you were last year, 10 years ago, when you were growing up.
This way of life is the way of getting your act together. But do you really have your life together? Do you have it under control? What about your sins? Do you have those under control? How’s that going for you? Well, you just keep on sinning, don’t you? You should stop. Or maybe you get one under control just to have another one pop up, just to get that under control to circle back to the other one again. Yeah, stop that, too. Then there’s the fact that we should just stop living like our sins our own problem to take care of.
All this hanging onto our sins, to make up for them, affects our love for one another. We have lots of strained relationships with lots of excuses for why it’s their fault. “If they’d just get their act together, it wouldn’t be a problem.” We don’t own up to the fact that we’re the common person in all our problems.
But this life of keeping our sins affects our faith, too! We come up with excuses for why our faith isn’t what it should be. Faith not being what it should be is why we don’t desire Jesus’ body and blood. Getting our sins under control has become our own problem. We don’t believe that the blood of Jesus has the power to take our sins away, to give us new life and love. Instead we make the Christian life more and more about what we do. And if we think we’re not so bad, or at least not as bad as we were, or not as bad as other people, then we think we’re spiritually fine.
All this is hanging on to your own sins. It’s a life that’s spiritually dead, a life without the life-blood of the Lamb of God, a life empty of the Spirit’s working within you. Even now our flesh is making excuses of how it’s not really so bad. We ignore John’s preaching that points us only to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
((1. Jesus always takes care of your sins for you.))
Living like a Christian isn’t about how you deal with your sins. Because let’s be honest: we talk a big game, but at the end of the day, we’re just like, “Well, I do that for church, or I live this nice way, so it doesn’t actually matter that I do or don’t do this or that.” Instead of just stopping our sins, we just pile sin upon sin by working to fix them. This is just taking your sins back from Jesus.
But Christ really is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” So, living like a Christian is living a life of Jesus constantly taking care of your sins for you. Are you the sin fixer, or is Jesus? Does Jesus only get you going? What do you have to do at the end? (What a team does in the 2nd half matters more than the 1st half.) What does John confess, though? He confesses Jesus “is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Jesus really does take your sins. They’re gone! He bore them in His own body on the cross. They aren’t your property anymore. They don’t define you. Jesus does. He defined you as His in Holy Baptism. He delivers His body and blood to you. “The blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sins”: not just at the cross, in the chalice—in you!
That’s life with Jesus, the sin Taker. He really does take them. He gets them under control by dying for them, killing them in His own body. He gets them under control for you—forgiving them, washing them away, giving you new life through His own life-blood that He calls you to eat and drink without limit. His life-blood purifies you. That’s also Jesus being “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” And through Jesus’ Word and Gifts, the Spirit lives and loves within you to live and love toward others.
Your sins are either on you or they’re on Jesus. John’s message, the Christian message is a simple one: they’re on Jesus. Jesus “is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” your sin. JESUS TAKES YOUR SINS. That means they’re not yours anymore. Yes, JESUS TAKES YOUR SINS. Not just one time on the cross, but He delivers that right to you. JESUS does TAKE YOUR SINS.
So, why would you take them back? Why go back to your despising God’s Word and Gifts? Why would you continue to live in your other sins? Why live trying to make up for them, which is impossible? Why would you treat others as if their sins are theirs and not Jesus’? Why would you be unloving? All that’s just taking your sins back, keeping them, hanging on to them. But that’s just living a lie.
Jesus really does take your sins. He’s “the Lamb of God,” after all. Being a Christian is Jesus constantly doing that for you your entire life. JESUS TAKES YOUR SINS. He doesn’t keep them. They died in Him. The only thing He keeps for you is His forgiveness, life, and love that He gives you abundantly in His body to eat and in the cup of His blood to drink.
INI + AMEN.