3. Are you sorry for your sins? Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God. 4. What have you deserved from God because of your sins? His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation. See Romans 6:21, 23. (Small Catechism: Christian Questions 3-4)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Of course we're sorry for our sins! They'll doom us! God's mad? We'll die? We'll be damned? Yeah, we're sorry! Sorry we got caught. Sorry we can't do better. Sorry we've messed everything up. Sorry we let others down and hurt them. Sorry we can't fix it. There's a lot to be sorry about when it comes to our sins. "The wages of sin is death..."
Those Christian Questions don't pull any punches! They tell it like it is. And when we answer them, we are telling it like it is with us. And while death is the wages, what we've earned, the paycheck for our sins, there is something else. There is the gift. The gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These questions, with their reference to Romans 6:21, 23, help us sort out what's what. Death? That's ours. That's what we've earned. What we deserve. Forgiveness? Sins paid for? Eternal life? That's a gift. Unearned--given freely by Jesus to sinners out of love for His Father. And His gift is better than our wages. His gift trumps our wages. When Christ gives His gift, we don't need our paycheck for sin anymore.
Sorry for our sins? You bet! Deserve death and hell? Absolutely! But what do we receive? Forgiveness, life, salvation, water, Word, Body and Blood. Jesus. The Christian Questions help us focus on what the wages are so that the gift is all the sweeter in comparison and truly received as a gift: freely, without conditions, no strings attached, for Jesus' sake. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Yet as the Law must be fulfilled Or we must die despairing, Christ came and has God's anger stilled, Our human nature sharing. He has for us the Law obeyed And thus the Father's vengeance stayed Which over us impended. (Salvation Unto Us Has Come, LSB 555:5)