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"There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared (revered)"—Psalm 130:4.
To appreciate GOD’S GREAT LOVE AND KINDNESS in forgiving us our sins and in saving us for his wonderful and everlasting Kingdom that is to come on this earth, we first need to understand what sin is.
WHAT SIN IS:
Sin is "transgression of the law".(1 John 3:4), or, as the Revised Version of the Bible renders more accurately, "sin is lawlessness". A sinner is someone who doesn’t know and breaks, or who does know and yet breaks, God’s law.. We are not born sinners, but we are born ignorant of God and His law, as we are of everything else. If we are not taught about God, of His purpose for the earth and for mankind and His requirements for acceptable living., we remain in a state of lawlessness.
When we have been correctly and intelligently taught God’s laws, we become responsible to obey them. However, we soon choose instead, to break them and sin. WE EITHER DO WHAT WE SHOULD NOT DO, OR DON’T DO WHAT WE SHOULD DO. We ‘miss the mark’ of what God would have for us. That mark is " the obedience to the faith" which pleases Him…(Romans 1:5, 16:26). We are born possible sinners as well as possible "saints" and possible "sons of God". However, the world soon encourages us to think, to speak and to act contrary to God’s laws. It is our wrong conduct that makes us sinners before God. We cannot blame God, or anybody or anything else, for our sins. We are intelligent and responsible creatures. Our danger is that.:-. "… every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin". (James 1:13-15).
SELFISHNESS AND SIN:
We are naturally selfish creatures ( and feel the need to survive), but we must let God’s laws control our selfishness, otherwise we will surely become sinners. We are born with a tendency, or proneness to sin. That ‘tendency’ to sin lies in our basic selfishness. As selfishness develops it becomes sin, when we break, or fail to obey, God’s laws.
Sooner or later we all surrender to the sinful environment of the world, and to our own evil desires. Selfishness is what the Bible calls "the devil" and that devil tempts us when our wrong desires suggest indulgence. The Apostle James says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you". ( James 4:7). The Apostle Paul says quite simply, "….for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God". ( Romans 3:23). So we all need to learn how to overcome sin….the devil….or self.
THE LORD JESUS DID NOT SIN:
THE Lord Jesus Christ, as "the son of man" possessed our very same nature, lived in a world like ours, was tempted in every way we are tempted, yet He did NOT sin. He overcame both himself and the world. His victory however, came not just of Himself, but also by reliance upon GOD, who loved Him, instructed Him, guided and helped Him. Life’s humbling experiences also played their part…. "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered". (Hebrews 5:8). Jesus loved God’s word and His laws for living a successful life. He "came to do his Father’s will". He chose to "do always those things that pleased Him". Because He was obedient unto death, God raised Him from the grave and gave Him eternal life.
WHAT SIN BRINGS:
Our sins make us worthy of death. (Romans 1:32). Death is the end of life, for then we cease to be, and eventually we return to dust. Only if the Lord Jesus raises our dust from our grave, will there be any life after death. The widely held belief that the soul of man is immortal, is a myth, made up by man to avoid the solemn fact of his own mortality. The SOUL of man is his LIFE, his person, his being. "The soul (person) that sinneth, it shall die". ( Ezekiel 18:20)
WHAT FORGIVENESS IS:
The prophet Nathan accused David, King of Israel, of his adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, whom David caused to be killed. "Thou art the man", he accused. However, he knew that David had repented, so he said, "The LORD hath put away thy sin". (2 Samuel 12:7-13). Though David had grievously sinned, he had later fully repented. ( see Psalms 32 and 51). So God graciously forgave him. Forgiveness is God’s pardon of sin. David was pardoned and the death that was his due, was not to be given. God was to again treat David as His son, instead of His enemy. But justice demanded appropriate punishment for this sin, which Nathan declared to David. (2 Samuel 12:10-15).
JUSTICE WITH MERCY:
This history is very instructive. It shows both the "goodness and severity" of the God we are called to worship. (Romans 11:22). Whilst God’s justice is tempered with mercy, He MUST uphold His own justice, for "justice and judgement are the habitation of His Throne". (Psalm 89:14). BUT….He is also " merciful and gracious, longsuffering, abundant in goodness and truth". (Exodus 34:6, Nehemiah 9:17). In dispensing true justice God seeks for the conditions whereby He may extend mercy. (Psalm 86:5).
A CHANGED LIFE IS NECESSARY:
David confessed his sin. He returned to the worship of God…. "in spirit and in truth", which the Father seeks. (John 4:22-24). God’s mercy is always conditional upon a sinner confessing, and, with God’s help, forsaking his sins. This is called very simply, "repentance". With repentance, involving a changed life, God will then forgive and forget the sinner’s sins. ( Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Acts 13:38).
‘IN CHRIST’, GOD WILL FORGIVE OUR SIN:
Failure is not final unless we deliberately choose to make it so. We may ask for God’s help and seek His mercy, or, we may ignore Him. Jesus assures us, "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you". (Matthew 7:7)
The Apostle Peter, who once in weakness shamefully denied his Lord, assures us of God’s loving kindness to all, in that He "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance". (2 Peter 3:9 cp Luke 24:47, Acts 17:31).
To gain forgiveness unto salvation, God requires that we believe the GOOD NEWS of His coming Kingdom on the earth and be baptised into the Saving name of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. "He that believeth (the Gospel) and is baptised, shall be saved". (Mark 16:16)
Mark counsels us… "….when ye stand praying, FORGIVE……if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven, forgive YOUR trespasses". ( Mark 11:25-26).
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