Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Key to Forgiveness (Part 2)

{Scroll down to read the first part in this series}

God’s Forgiveness Available for Us
Though God’s very character is one of forgiveness, we are sinful and cannot simply reflect on God’s forgiving character. Something must be done so that we can personally experience that forgiveness.

In the Old Testament law, when a man came to make things right with God, he had to bring a payment. For any sin (theft, murder, adultery, ignorant sin, purposeful sin), an animal was to be brought to the priest. The priest would sacrifice the animal as a peace-offering between man and God and the sin would be forgiven (see Leviticus 4:20-26, Leviticus 5, Numbers 15). A sacrifice was required in order for one to gain God’s forgiveness.

This type of sacrifice for forgiveness continued for centuries. However God had a better plan. Since “almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission {freedom, pardon}” (Hebrews 9:22), “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28)

Jesus Christ came to earth to shed His own blood – to be the sacrificial lamb so that we could have remission of sins (Matthew 26:28, Acts 2:38, Romans 3:25). We fully deserved to pay the full price for our sin (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23), but when Christ died in our place it made the way for God to freely forgive us. Today, it is only through Christ’s blood that we can receive full forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14), but we must accept Christ’s blood atonement. To reject the Blood would be to reject God’s forgiveness (John 3:18, John 3:36, John 6:54).

Before we can forgive others, we must accept forgiveness. We cannot understand the heart of forgiveness until we understand God’s forgiveness for us. We cannot forgive others in our own strength, because true forgiveness only comes from God and through God’s power.

We must examine our hearts to see if we have truly accepted Christ’s forgiveness for our sins. If we have not, what is keeping us from asking God for His forgiveness and accepting His free gift of salvation? We cannot merely say, “God knows I’m wrong, God’s knows I’ve sinned.” Though God is all-seeing, He is also waiting for us to humble ourselves and bow before His holiness, recognizing our transgression (Psalm 51:3-4), confessing our sins (1 John 1:9), and asking His forgiveness (Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 11:9-13, John 14:12-13, James 4:2, 1 John 5:14-15). When we ask, God forgives us freely.

. . . to be continued next week . . .

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