2. Q. What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
A. First, how great my sins and misery are; second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance.
If one imagines they have no sin, then they will inevitably be convinced that they have no need for redemption. Having been created in God’s image, all of fallen humanity has this in common: they stand before the face of God as guilty. Sin has ravaged every part of our being leaving us completely incapable of self-restoration. Romans 3:10 is one of today’s biblical references: “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one…’” This is not an indictment. Friends, this is a verdict. We often underestimate our sin and guilt because we underestimate the character of God. As fallen people we often conflate ourselves with a counterfeit righteousness which acquiesces rather well to the pick-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps mentality of American culture. When things hit the fan we are told to look inside ourselves, implying the cure lies therein.
The Bible tells us otherwise. We need an alien (outside of us) righteousness, to use the words of Martin Luther. Everyone has a need to have a restored relationship to his/her Creator and this is only by means of the Redeemer who is Jesus Christ. Today’s catechism also draws from Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Jesus Christ delivers his people from all their sins and misery. The Christian has no need for despair when he/she considers their sinfulness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
As we walk Coram Deo (in the presence of God) today, let us give thanks to the God who created us in His image, and who has redeemed us from our sins and misery by the person and work of Jesus Christ. Let us take comfort in the fact that we have not only received forgiveness of sins through Him, but we have also received His perfect righteousness. May we let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).