In our liturgical housekeeping, we move on to the assurance of pardon.
We rise from kneeling. We are raised from a posture of shame and humility, because forgiveness raises us from the status of guilty to innocent.
A declaration of pardon is like that of a wedding pronouncment. Pronouncing someone man and wife doesn’t make it real. The vows make the wedding real. The pastor’s job, his office, is to declare it real, having witnessed it. Same for forgiveness of sins. Declaration is an act of faith that you are truly repenting of your sins.
Declaration is part of the office of the minister. God gave His elders who rule the church the keys to open the kingdom to the repentant. That’s what this declaration of pardon is. The pastor doesn’t get you forgiven by saying words, but it is his office to say the words, to represent Christ to you and forgive you through the body, face and voice of his officer. Every week at this point in the service you should come to trial before the judge, confess your crimes, and then hear Jesus the judge, not condemn, but pardon you through His officer the elder leading worship. We have been forgiven once for all at the cross. And we need to experience that forgiveness anew every week.