If you’ve read or been trained in the Lutheran Catechism, you’ll be familiar with the phrase, “this is most certainly true.” It appears at the end of each of Luther’s explanations, a reminder that although most of life is uncertain, the things of the faith are not. Recently my husband and I were vacationing near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where we were visiting with our daughter and our grandchildren. We attended a Presbyterian Church one Sunday and I loved their confession of sin, because what it told me is most certainly true:
From the Westminster Confession of Faith 15.4 (Of Repentance Unto Life). No sin is so small that it does not deserve damnation. Nor is any sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.
“There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
(If you’re unfamiliar with the Westminster Confession of Faith, it is a systematic exposition of Calvinism, written from a Puritan viewpoint. It was originally drafted to reform the Church of England and to unify the various Christian sects in England at that time. It addresses a variety of church doctrines).
Often people feel uncertain about whether their sins are really forgiven. Maybe they have trouble forgiving themselves; maybe they are afraid that something they have done is so bad, it just isn’t forgivable. Martin Luther himself suffered from this anxiety. He confessed over and over again without feeling absolved. On the other hand, some are convinced their sins are so small, they don’t need forgiveness. They are “good” people, at least in comparison to others. Neither attitude is correct. We all need forgiveness, and through the atonement of Christ, we can all receive forgiveness. Of that you can be certain.
For more on forgiveness see these posts: