“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)
In the Divine Service, Christ Himself comes to deliver His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation to us. He comes to give of Himself–His Word, His flesh, His blood. This is why Christ took on flesh in the first place. It’s why He suffered and died and rose again. Worship is not firstly about something we do for God. God doesn’t need anything we have to give. Rather, God sends His Holy Spirit into the world to gather us into His house that He might deliver Christ to us. In His suffering and death, Christ Jesus took your sin and paid the price for it. He defeated sin, death, and the devil for you so that you would no longer be bound by them. In Christ, death no longer has any lasting power over you. In His resurrection, we see a preview of our resurrection: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
But while all of this was accomplished by Christ through His cross and empty tomb, He doesn’t deliver it to you there. Christ is much more generous than that! He actually brings it forward to you, in whatever time and place you happen to be, and He delivers it through the instruments He has set aside precisely for this purpose. Through the instruments (or means) of Baptism, Absolution, the preaching of the Gospel, and Holy Communion, Jesus actually delivers to you all of the fruits of His cross–the forgiveness, life, and salvation that can only come from Him. And He does this delivering in the Divine Service. As the Lutheran reformers remind us, “The true worship and divine service of the Gospel is to receive gifts from God.”
Have you wondered whether you can really be acceptable to God? Are you exhausted at trying to somehow please God with the myriad things you’ve been told He wants from you? Have you wondered if your heart is in the right place and whether you have really been saved? Come visit us at All Saints, where you will experience the biblical truth that Christ is for you. He loves you and has forgiven you, not because of anything you have done or not done, but simply because God is love and because Christ has taken your sin and made you clean. In Christ, God declares you holy. In Christ, God makes you His saint. You are one of God’s saints, not because of anything in you or about you, but because He clothes you with Christ’s own holiness. Because Christ is for you.