By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Colossians 2:14-15 (ESV)
Today is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. This morning’s worship service was a very special one that set the tone for how I hope to spend the days before Easter, thanking Jesus Christ for what He willingly did for me, and for you, dying in our place taking away the penalty of sin which is death. Our pastor preached on the first half of Chapter 2 in Colossians. These verses were intended for a church that had forgotten or perhaps they never knew, that the gift of salvation was exactly that, a gift. They had abandoned grace and added on rituals and requirements for gaining access to heaven beyond believing Christ was God’s Son sent to take away the sins of the world, asking for forgiveness for our sins and receiving salvation as a gift, not based upon anything we have done. After that explanation, our pastor made the message very personal. He talked about “the one sin” or maybe, the handful of sins that we carry around, feeling guilty over and unconvinced that Christ came to forgive us of those sins as well. He noted that that unbelief, that unwillingness to agree that Christ took away that sin as well, leaves the door open for Satan to taunt us and lie to us to make us think we have to be good enough or that we are a failure. When in fact, we cannot do anything to relieve ourselves of that burden of sin nor do we need to because Christ already has. He spent quite a lot of time talking about what it means to have the record of our debt cancelled. All of our debt, not just a portion of it, and reminded us that when Jesus was nailed to the cross, so was our sin. In a vivid example of that and as a way for those of us who still carry around that ”one sin,” we were given a red card shaped like a price tag, with a string attached. On that card, we were instructed to write down the sin for which we still carried around the guilt and the shame. The sin that we would never want anyone to know about. The sin that Satan uses to make us think that God could never love us. Then, at the end of the service, we were asked to hang that card on one of several large wooden crosses scattered around the sanctuary. It was a powerful moment as hundreds of people stood in line to hang their cards upon the cross as an illustration that we are forgiven and free of any debt that we might imagine we owed. As you enter Holy Week and contemplate the arrival of Easter, remember that Jesus came so that we might rejoice over a debt that is paid in full. It is not about whether we are good enough, only about what He did for us. All we have to do is believe.