Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29.
By this John means to say: I have, by my teaching, made you all sinners,
having condemned your works and told you to despair of yourselves. But in
order that you may not also despair of God, I will show you how to get rid
of your sins and obtain salvation. Not that you can strip off your sins or
make yourselves pious through your works; another man is needed for this;
nor can I do it, I can point him out, however. It is Jesus Christ, the Lamb
of God. He, he, and no one else in heaven or on earth, takes our sins upon
himself. You yourselves could not pay for the very smallest of your sins.
He alone must take upon himself not alone your sins, but the sins of the world,
and not some sins, but all the sins of the world, be they great or small,
many or few.
Now if you are able to believe that this voice of John speaks the truth,
and if you are able to follow his finger and recognize the Lamb of God
carrying your sins, then you have gained the victory, then you are a Christian,
a master of sin, death, hell and all things. Then your conscience will rejoice
and become heartily fond of this gentle Lamb of God. Then you will love,
praise and give thanks to our heavenly Father for his infinite wealth of mercy,
preached by John and given in Christ. Finally you will become cheerful and
willing to do his divine will, as best you can, with all your strength. What lovelier
and more comforting message can be heard than that our sins are not ours any
more, that they no more lie on us, but on the Lamb of God. Lying on him, sin
must be vanquished and made to nothing, and likewise death and hell, being
the reward of sin, must be vanquished also. Behold what God our Father
has given us in Christ.
Take heed lest you presume to get rid of the smallest of your sins through
your own merit before God, and lest you rob Christ, the Lamb of God, of his
credit. John indeed demands that each one should know himself, repent and
grow better, yet not in himself, but in Jesus Christ alone.