Lamb of God, once slain for sinners, Host, who spreads this meal divine, here You pledge our sins are covered, pledge received in bread and wine: “Take and eat; this is My body, given on the cross for you; take and drink; this cup of blessing is my blood poured out for you.” -LSB 572, Verse 4

When Jesus breathed His last on the cross, the punishment for sin was gone. God had poured out His divine wrath on His Son against all sins- past, present, and future, and now that all sin was atoned for, God could bestow the gift of the forgiveness of sins upon His people. The Old Testament sacrificial covenant, which had sanctified the Children of Israel and set them apart from the rest of the world, was no longer necessary. No new blood needed to be spilled on altars to atone for sin because the blood of Jesus now covered all sins. All God needed to do was give His people access to this new, life-giving blood. Therefore, Jesus instituted a new covenant just before He went to the cross which would pass the forgiveness He won for His people to His people.

In this new covenant, God comes to His people and brings them justification through the blood of His Son. This blood covers us just as the blood of the old covenant covered the Children of Israel. We no longer need to sacrifice animals on human altars to atone for our sins. Instead, we now come to the altar of God where we receive this cleansing, atoning blood along with Christ’s body in, with, and under the bread and wine at the communion rail. In the Lord’s Supper, God freely offers us the forgiveness of our sins and life eternal and promises that because of Christ’s payment for sin, we can know for certain that our sins are forgiven forever.

This is why Lutherans value communion so highly. Through receiving communion, we gain access to Christ’s salvific blood and are made holy before God. This is not a meal where we fondly remember that Jesus died for us. No! This is a meal that give you eternal life, forgives all your sins, and sanctifies you. My home congregation offers two services, and once I asked my pastor if it was alright to commune in the second service after communing in the first service. He responded by asking me if I had sinned after receiving communion, and when I responded that of course I had sinned, he said that I absolutely could take communion again. The Lord’s Supper is not a question of how many times we go, but a question of whether we need forgiveness. The answer to that question will always be yes on this earth. It is right that we treasure this gift for all the blessings it gives to us.

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