Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Forgiveness of Sins

Ps.130: 3 If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Eph.1: 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Heb.10: 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

The entire world is buckling under the weight of sin. And although sin affects the inanimate creation, it was ushered in by man and it takes its greatest toll on the souls of men. The majority of mankind does not recognize the penalty for sin, and generally man uses his own definition for sin and his own idea of redemption which is usually assessed as doing more good than bad. But that completely misses the truth about sin, and it grossly and eternally underestimates the weight and penalty of human sin.

We define sin as breaking God’s laws or disobeying God. And that is generally true, however it is much more sinister than we can imagine. In fact any attempt to capture the essence if sin in human terms runs the risk of diluting the seriousness of sin. Sin is the instrument which brings forth spiritual death. It doesn’t just run the risk of spiritual death. Sin always causes spiritual death. And since every person born is born a sinner with sin, every person is in need of the forgiveness of those sins otherwise he will die in his sins and inherit eternal death. And just to take one unguarded moment and let your mind descend and walk one second in eternal death and you may at least see just how serious this all is.

Rom.6:23: 23 For the wages of sin is death…

This death is called the second death. It dooms the soul for all eternity and in the end it will be cast into the lake of fire. There are no big sins and little sins as it pertains to eternity. No unforgiven sin will enter into God’s presence. That is why forgiveness is essential if you wish to spend eternity with Christ. No man can forgive sins. All who pretend to forgive our sins are mere mortals who must account for their own misdeeds. God alone can offer true forgiveness.

In our present state we cannot imagine what eternal death would look like. Yes we can provide some human words which carry some disturbing imagery, but how can we really understand eternal punishment and eternal death? The Scriptures refer to it as the “second death”.

Suppose there is a man in his bed in a hospital and that man is dying. He is in great pain and soon he begs to die, but he continues to live even though he is dying. He writhes in pain and no pain medicine helps even in the smallest way.

You bid him farewell and you leave his side. One year later you happen to be in that same hospital and you see that the very same man is still there and he is still in the throes of death. He is as miserable as a human being can be. You leave the hospital again. In ten years you find yourself visiting someone in that same hospital and yes, that man is still there and still dying. Fifty, one hundred years pass and still that man is dying but cannot die. One thousand years pass and the hospital is now gone but that man is still in a bed and still dying.

One million and two million and billions upon billions of years go by and still that same man is painfully dying but still alive. The heavens are now rolled up and the earth is burned up and is now completely gone, but that man is still in the same dying condition. Yes, that is a picture of the horrific second death. Dying but never dead. Who can know it? Who is not frightened by its imagery? But that is what sin does. That is the penalty for our sin. It must render us immobilized and fearful.

And there is only one escape from that kind of eternal justice. Someone, without sin, must be willing to take my punishment upon himself. And the only one without sin is God Himself, and the man called Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. His death was what all the animal sacrifices throughout the Old Testament pointed to. In the space of six hours Jesus paid for all the sins of the world, and every sinner who by faith believes in that sacrifice is forgiven of the burden of his sins.

What sin would we see as being the worst sin? How about denying the Lord Jesus after you had spent over three years with Him and seen His miracles and heard His words of life? Would that not be a huge weight of sin? Of course it would! Imagine Peter crawling up into the upper room filled with guilt and shame. It must have almost made him sick. But as soon as Peter was filled with the Spirit and was born again, he miraculously stood up and not only preached Christ and Him crucified, but in his first two sermons he boldly and publicly indicted the Jews for crucifying Jesus!

Acts 2: 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 4: 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Oh the enormity of God’s forgiveness. Peter is free! In an amazing turn around Peter refuses to be hung on the gallows of his immense sin, but instead receives Christ’s forgiveness and becomes a redemptive study of how we can be cleansed and not be tied down to what is now gone forever. This is salvation, this is redemption, and this is truly the forgiveness of sin. It is the mystery of mysteries but it is also the freedom which can never be known by a self righteous and unforgiving world of darkness. And this cleansing from sin is a continuing promise for every born again believer.

From the smallest and insignificant lie, to what men claim is almost unforgiveable, the cleansing power of His crimson grace can never be measured. It all seems like a Lord of the Rings kind of imagery, and yet one day this reality will give way to that which can never end. And on that day, all sinners from every stripe will stand as one and have nothing, absolutely nothing with which to claim except His stripes, His promise, His sacrifice, and His shed blood. We do not sin in order to experience forgiveness, but when we do sin, and when we receive that divine forgiveness, we must never shrink from testifying openly of its eternal glory!

But how often do we see our obedience with pride and self righteousness? And in order to buttress our own platform of hubris we see the sins of others as more grievous and much more deserving of divine retribution than are ours. But one day, one day filled with unimaginable glory, we will all see that the Lamb that was Slain and the now Risen Christ must receive all the praise and the glory since our presence before Him is all of Him and none of us! The blood of the Lamb can never be unshed. It has been poured out for whosoever will believe in Jesus Christ.

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!


lemmonjohanna said...

Beautifully expressed Rick.Praise our glorious King!

michael said...

As I read this tonight I reflected back to earlier tonight the sense I got of the horrors of hell watching the NASA you tube of the recent flare up on the sun. Watching that and seeing the flare and the movement on the surface of the sun was chilling to me. Also Psalms 50 and these words as well as words from the book of the Revelation and how he was gripped to utter anguish of soul come to mind:

But to the wicked God says: "What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers. "You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. "Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver! (Psalms 50:16-22 ESV)

and: Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals? And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. (Revelation 5:1-4 ESV)

Rod said...

The blood soaked cross. The horrific death of the of the blameless Son of God, Jesus the Christ. His glorious resurrection. All so that all who accept His mind blowing sacrifice would avoid the horror of the second death and spend an eternity, which our hearts and minds cannot begin to comprehend the beauty and wonder of. The Lord Jesus Christ, my only hope but a hope that is all sufficient.

Indeed, Hallelujah. What a Saviour!!