Today we commemorate Cyril of Alexandria, a pastor and confessor of Christ in the Early Christian Church. Our devotional reading comes from A Year in the Old Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year.
“If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). But my sins are too great, they are ever before me! I have done what is wicked and evil in the sight of the LORD my God. Against God and Him alone I have sinned. I know my transgressions; I have done evil (Psalm 51:3–4). “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (v. 5). There is nothing good in me, nothing to recommend me before the Almighty One.
Nevertheless, if we confess our sins—sins of all manner and stripe, sins of our corrupt and wicked flesh, sins of greed and desire, sins of ungodly thoughts and godless deeds, even sins of prostitution, murder, and mayhem—“if we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God pours out His abundant mercy according to His steadfast love, and He forgives and cleanses us from all iniquity!
From the confession of a city harlot to the confession of a lecherous king, from the confessions of wayward children of God to the confessions of wandering saints, from the confessions of little children to the confessions of the Church, God hears. God has mercy; He pours out His forgiveness and cleanses. “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). And He is merciful.
In His love and mercy, He filled the womb of Mary with His only-begotten Son. In His love and mercy, He delivered into our world Jesus, true man and true God, in order to accomplish His merciful mission. His love and mercy is so great that He turned His face away from His Son in order that He might die and we might be saved. Wicked and sinful though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me and for the sins of all. God is faithful and just! God has redeemed and rescued us! God has sent His Son to the tomb in order that we might be spared the eternal wrath of that darkness. From the womb to the tomb, the love and mercy of God abounds for His children.
Just as the womb of Mary delivered the Son of God into the flesh of our world, so the tomb delivered up the Son of God in a glorious resurrection. God’s love and mercy were incarnate, God’s love and mercy were resurrected, so that we, too, might share in this new life.
“If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We are cleansed and washed in the blood of the Lamb; in the waters of the font He washes us into His kingdom. We are cleansed and washed in the blood of the Lamb; in the holy food of body and blood, His forgiveness is outpoured, and we have life and salvation. No sin is too great, no crime is too heinous, and no wicked deed can overcome the love and mercy of our God. He is faithful and just and He forgives, cleansing away all the dark deeds so that we might walk with Him in the light.
Devotional reading is from A Year in the Old Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year, page 222 © 2012 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Heavenly Father, Your servant Cyril steadfastly proclaimed Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be one person, fully God and fully man. By Your infinite mercy, keep us constant in faith and worship of Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Prayer is from Treasury of Daily Prayer, page 469 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.