"For The Forgiveness Of Sins" - Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed
How much comfort we take in those beautiful words. We hold tight to the forgiveness of sins. We breathe a sigh of relief at the thought of forgiveness. It is even a new covenant: the forgiveness of sins.
But it is not the forgiveness of our sins that is promised by itself. It is the forgiveness of sins -not just ours but sins in general. We take it personally and so we should; yet we take it as if it were ours exclusively. The picture is bigger than that. What Jesus is accomplishing is bigger than that.
How often does he tell us, in one way or another, that forgiveness is for everybody? Forgive as you are forgiven; the merciful will be shown mercy; we love because God first loved us. He is reconciling the whole world to himself. Are we with him on that?
It is almost guaranteed that someone will claim that this amounts to earning our salvation. It is nothing of the sort. God forgives us when we have done nothing to earn it. If that means anything to us, we will do the same for others.