The Sin Eater
“And having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation; named of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” Hebrews 5:9-10, ASV).
Part of the culture of England, Wales, and other countries from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries was a person called the sin-eater. This poor soul was either chosen by lottery by a viallage or paid to attend the wakes of dead people and to eat all their sins. For a pittance of food or money, he stood before the dead person and said, “I give easement and rest now to thee, dear man. Come not down the lanes or in our meadows. And for thy peace I pawn my own soul. Amen”. (Wikipedia)
The villagers believed that all the sins of the dead person were eaten by the sin-eater. The sin-eater then went to some remote place where he stayed alone, away from human contact, because he was laden with the sins of the dead. No one was allowed to find or see his dwelling place or ever look upon him again. He came into the village only when he was summoned by the gong of a bell or by some other means to perform the ritual for another dead person.
How strange and how wrong! No man can trade his soul for ours. No man, living or dead, can take away our sins and insure us a place in heaven. Only Jesus Christ can take away the sins of the living and the dead. Only our Lord can release us from guilt and give us peace and freedom. Only God’s Son who died for us and was resurrected can assure us a resurrection into glory.
If only those people had known God’s Word, they would have said, “Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).
Hymn: “Bless the Lord”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we look to Jesus Christ for our salvation, for only by obeying Him can we have life eternal. In Jesus’s name. Amen.