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Fully vaccinated - against sin

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6.23

Jesus' willing sacrifice of his perfect life on the cross fulfilled the Old Testament law, thereby opening the way back to intimacy with God and breaking the power of sin to separate us - from God, from each other, from creation. Jesus' resurrection is proof because, as the verse above reminds us, death is the consequence of sin but, where there is no sin, death cannot have the last word. Though it is the case that, on the cross, Jesus took on our sin to the extent that he embodied the sin of the world, once he had paid the price, sin and death had no further power over him.

In the same way that Jesus took on our sin, he also invites us to follow him "through the door of death" and into eternal life. In the ceremony of Holy Communion we celebrate this extraordinary exchange whereby Jesus invaded our sinful lives so that we might be embraced by his perfect life. The atonement of Jesus achieved for us what we could never have managed ourselves: salvation from sin and the gift of eternal life. This is why the Bible is able to challenge us all to forgive everyone, no matter how they might have wronged us, leaving their judgment in God's hands. Coming from anyone else that would be inappropriate: what right have I to demand forgiveness for a wrong I have not suffered myself? But the fact is that Jesus has taken the punishment we all deserve and so he does have the right and the authority to exhort us all to forgive.

In this way faith in Christ lays the foundation for forgiveness and reconciliation at every level: not as something we engineer or earn the right to demand but as an appropriate and universal response for what Jesus did on all of our behalves. Even as he was dying the cruelest of deaths which he did not deserve, Jesus prayed "Father forgive them, for they don't understand what they are doing". Imagine the transformation to relationships between people, even whole nations, were we to behave this way towards one another!



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