THE APPLICATION OF THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
1. Having seen how Christ made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, we will now see how we can apply the merits of His Sacrifice to our own souls, to cleanse them from dead works, and to strengthen them for obedience in His service.
2. The atoning blood of Christ is applied in the Sacraments. First, in the Sacrament of Baptism the blood of Christ is the efficient cause of the neophyte passing out of the bondage of Satan into the Kingdom of God. By that blood we obtain remission of original sin.
But we sin after Baptism. How is past baptismal sin to be effaced?
(a) There must be a right disposition on our part. We must come to a knowledge of our sinful state; then we must bitterly grieve over our transgression, and we must then resolve not to sin again; in other words, knowing our sin we must acknowledge it, be contrite, and have full purpose of amendment. These three elements go to make up true repentance. And without true repentance there can be no pardon accorded us.
(b) When there is this right disposition, then we must plead the Sacrifice of Christ’s death. This we do in the way Christ Himself appointed, by the oblation of the Holy Eucharist. In this we show forth the Lord’s death till He come. In this we offer up before God the atoning blood of Christ in expiation for our offences. Then we go before the Throne of the Eternal Father, and righteous Judge; we show that we are ourselves in the right disposition, i.e., truly repentant, we acknowledge our offences, show Him that we bewail them, earnestly entreat for grace to amend, and then plead that all-prevailing Sacrifice, through which alone our repentance can be accepted.
(c) But all prayer is an echo of the great Eucharistic Sacrifice, for all prayer is offered through the name, the merits, and mediation of Jesus Christ. Prayer is availing, because we have access to the Father through Christ.
3. The Sacrifice of Christ obtains for us strength, and this is distributed to us in the Sacraments. At the Lord’s table we are strengthened and refreshed with the Body and Blood of Christ, enabled through Him to resist temptation, overcome natural weakness, grow strong in His grace, and attain to the likeness of Christ. We should have no help from above were it not that Christ has won it for us by His Sacrifice.
Thus through Jesus Christ, we who were sometime aliens are brought nigh to God, made the children of God, and perfected unto the Day of the Lord.