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XII. THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.’ -- Ps. 32:1
In connection with surrender to the Lord, it was said that the first great blessing of the grace of God was this -- the free, complete, everlasting forgiveness of all your sins. For the young Christian it is of great moment that he should stand fast in this forgiveness of his sins, and always carry the certitude of it about with him. To this end, he must especially consider the following truths.
The forgiveness of our sin is a complete forgiveness. (Ps. 103:12; Isa. 38:17; 55:7; Micah 7:18,19; Heb. 10:16-18) God does not forgive by halves. Even with man, we reckon a half forgiveness no true forgiveness. The love of God is so great, and the atonement in the blood of Jesus so complete and powerful, that God always forgives completely. Take time with God’s word to come under the full impression that your guilt has been blotted out wholly and altogether. God thinks absolutely no more of your sins. ‘I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.’ (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12; 10:17)
The forgiveness of our sin restores us entirely again to the love of God. (Hos. 14:5; Luke 15:22; Acts 26:18; Rom. 5:1,5) Not only does God not impute sin any more, -- that is but one half, -- but He reckons to us the righteousness of Jesus also, so that for His sake we are as dear to God as He is. Not only is wrath turned away from us, but the fulness of love now rests upon us. ‘I will love them freely, for Mine anger is turned away from him.’ Forgiveness is access to all the love of God. On this account, forgiveness is also introduction to all the other blessings of redemption.
Live in the full assurance of forgiveness, and let the Spirit fill your heart with the certitude and the blessedness of it, and you shall have great confidence in expecting all from God. Learn from the word of God, through the Spirit, to know God aright, and to trust Him as the ever-forgiving God. That is His name and His glory. To one to whom much, yea, all is forgiven, He will also give much. He will give all. (Ps. 103:3; Isa. 12:1,3; Rom. 5:10; 8:32; Eph. 1:7; 3:5) Let it therefore be every day your joyful thanksgiving. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, who forgiveth all mine iniquities.’ Then forgiveness becomes the power of a new life: ‘He who is forgiven much, loves much.’ The forgiveness of sins, received anew in living faith every day, is a bond that binds anew to Jesus and His service. (John 13:14,15; Rom. 7:1; 1 Cor. 6:20; Eph. 5:25,26; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:17,18)
Then the forgiveness of former sins always gives courage to go immediately anew with every new sin and trustfully to take forgiveness. (Ex. 34:6,7; Matt. 28:21; Luke 1:77,78) Look, however, to one thing: the certitude of forgiveness must not be a matter of memory or understanding, but the fruit of life -- living converse with the forgiving Father, with Jesus in whom we have forgiveness. (Eph. 2:13,18; Phil. 3:9; Col. 1:21,22) It is not enough to know that I once received forgiveness: my life in the love of God, my living intercourse with Jesus by faith -- this makes the forgiveness of sin again always new and powerful -- the joy and the life of my soul.
Lord God, this is the wonder of Thy grace, that Thou art a forgiving God. Teach me every day to know in this anew the glory of Thy love. Let the Holy Spirit every day seal forgiveness to me as a blessing, everlasting, ever-fresh, living, and powerful. And let my life be as a song of thanksgiving. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, who forgiveth all thine iniquities.’ Amen.
1. At bottom, forgiveness is one with justification. Forgiveness is the word that looks more to the relation of God as Father. Justification looks more to His acquittal as Judge. Forgiveness is a word that is more easily understood by the young Christian. But he must also endeavour to understand the word justification, and to obtain part in all that the Scripture teaches about it.
2. About justification we must understand --
That man in himself is wholly unrighteous.
That he cannot be justified by works, that is, pronounced righteous before the judgment-seat of God.
That Jesus Christ has brought in a righteousness in our place. His obedience is our righteousness.
That we through faith receive Him, are united with Him; and then are pronounced righteous before God.
That we through faith have the certitude of this, and, as justified, draw near before God.
That union with Jesus is a life by which we are not only pronounced righteous, but are really righteous and act righteously.
3. Let the certitude of your part in justification, in the full forgiveness of your sins, and in full restoration to the love of God, be every day your confidence in drawing near to God.
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