This passage is extremely hard for us to understand and believe. Our world wants justice, and therefore everyone who is guilty of iniquity and sin should be punished. Until they finish their punishment, they cannot have their iniquity forgiven or their sin forgotten.
We attempt to place that belief upon God. We may voice the sentiment that Jesus died so that all can be forgiven, but we secretly believe that they deserve punishment and will get it before God will forgive them.
This attitude forgets the depth that Luther gives each of the commandments. The explanation goes so far that a confirmand once said, “I can’t even get to school before I’ve broken them all.” While society may rate sins, even the smallest sin separates us from God’s love and mercy. Once separated from God by sin there is nothing we can do to be reconciled to God except live in our baptism and God’s promise and mercy through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The idea of unconditional love and forgiveness for all who believe in Christ is difficult for us to fathom. Yet it is what God promised. It eases our burden, for when we fail, we rely on the promise that God will remember our sin no more.
Forgiving God, give us the faith to remember the promised love and mercy of Jesus Christ. Amen. — DG