Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19 ESV
The answer to “Who is a God like you?” is obvious: there is none like God. God is a God full of forgiveness, love, and mercy, and, ultimately, walking on our sins which means, He puts them underfoot and does not hold them over our heads. He casts them into the depths of the seas which means, He buries them in the sea of forgetfulness, remembering them no more. The deepest point in the ocean is reported to be over 36,000 feet, or approximately 6.8 miles deep. That is deeper than the peak of the mountain Pikes Peak which stands just over 29,000 feet high. This gives you a glimpse of the magnitude of God’s forgiveness and willingness to forgive sin. It was in His plan all along. Seven hundred years before God sent his Son, it was foretold by Micah the prophet. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2 ESV This prophesy was fulfilled in Matthew 2:1-2 (ESV) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Forgiveness from God sets us free from the power of sin, and its consequences, which is death. Let
me touch on three truths of forgiveness that scripture teaches.
Without Forgiveness, Judgment:
The whole purpose for Jesus coming and dying was so that we might be forgiven of our sins and not experience His wrath. We are justified (just-as-if-I’d never sinned) before God at the coming judgment for all sin. The Bible teaches the seriousness of sin when it teaches what it takes to receive forgiveness. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:22b ESV The only way anyone will ever stand before God without condemnation is to be covered and forgiven by the blood of the Lamb of God. John the Baptist introduced Jesus in this way, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 ESV Throughout the Bible we never see a place where God winks at sin, but we do see His righteous anger and judgment because of sin. Forgiveness by God is essential to escape God’s final judgement for all sins. Never assume before God that you weren’t that bad, for God will not judge on the curve of comparing yourself to others, but by HIS righteousness only.
This is the simple truth of the matter, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD. Romans 6:23 ESV
Forgiveness In Christ Alone:
Contrary to many teachings of our day, there is only one way to Heaven, as taught by Jesus himself. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV Simply put, if there was any other way, then Jesus’s death was unnecessary. Peter, when preaching in the book of Acts, said, “Repent and be be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 ESV …… And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 ESV Forgiveness and Salvation are in CHRIST JESUS ALONE!
Forgiveness for Whoever:
For GOD so LOVED the world, that he GAVE HIS ONLY SON that WHOEVER BELIEVES in him should not perish but have ETERNAL LIFE. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be SAVED THROUGH HIM. John 3: 16-17 ESV
So the question may arise, “How do we experience this forgiveness?” There is not a set formula, nor should we look at it as just the words we speak, but what follows may help you in your search for the truth of forgiveness.
The first thing that happens, when desiring to know Jesus personally, is REPENTANCE. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret. 2 Corinthians 7:10a ESV It is coming to the realization of your dirtiness before God, as did David in Psalm 51 concerning his sin.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. AGAINST YOU, YOU ONLY HAVE I SINNED AND DONE WHAT IS EVIL IN YOUR SIGHT. Psalms 51:1-4a ESV
Secondly, we call upon His name. It is one thing to know the truth of your sin; it is another to call upon the name of Jesus for salvation. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13 ESV
Thirdly, we live in the forgiveness we have received. Jesus said this of the woman who washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47 ESV I believe it is a spiritual impossibility to be redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God and there be no change in a person’s life. The moment we are saved the sanctification process begins in our lives…. we are not what we once were, but we have not totally become what we will be. God does not save a person from their sins to leave them as they were…He changes them day by day into the image of His Son Jesus. People will know we are different by the EVIDENCE of God in our lives. We will NOT be perfect, but we will be forgiven, and hopefully, we will love much as this woman who washed Jesus feet.
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David