I am currently preaching through the statements of Jesus on the cross, and cannot help but find them especially meaningful this easter season. Easter has always been a season for remembrance and meditation on the price Christ paid for our sins. But today more than ever it’s necessary to slow down, and focus our minds on the cross.
The first words of Jesus on the cross amazingly offer forgiveness for those who had nailed Him there. In this statement we find Grace, Mercy, and Love for those who could never deserve it. While we didn’t crucify Jesus, we definitely disobey Him, so those words offer hope for us today
We have a Gracious Forgiveness
Basically this means that we don’t have to earn the forgiveness Christ offers. While we were still sinners God chose to send Christ to die for our sins (Romans 5:6-8), because we could never reach His standard of perfection. So we aren’t forgiven because we love God (or serve Him) but because of God’s sacrificial love on our behalf (1 John 4:9-10). Forgiveness is given to those who choose to claim the gift of Salvation, or cleansing from sin if you are a Believer.
The forgiveness of God has always been based on Grace instead of good works. In the Old Testament, a person was forgiven of their sins by transferring that sin to a sacrificial animal. The animal would then by killed to pay the penalty for their sin. Of course their sins being “imputed” to that animal is a picture of Christ who would have the sins of us all laid upon Him (Isaiah 53:6).
This brings incredible hope because those in sin must simply claim the forgiveness of Christ
- By confession of your sins
- Believing that Jesus can deliver you from your sin
- And crying out to Jesus for help
in basic terms accepting Gods Gracious Forgiveness means admitting you cannot fix the problem yourself…and begging Him for mercy
We Have a Transforming Forgiveness
As Scripture says “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Therefore, there is NOBODY who is too wicked for Jesus to save. The Apostle Paul was the chiefest of sinners, but after Salvation God used him to reach many Gentiles with the Gospel (1 Timothy 1:12-16). And the Corinthian church had a list of horrendous sins being committed! However following Salvation Paul could say; “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
The application of this is anyone…and I mean ANYONE who places their faith in Christ will be saved.
- A sinful woman is forgiven of her many sins (Luke 7:36-50)
- Salvation came to the house of a wicked tax collector named Zachaeus (Luke 19:9-10)
- And a thief on the cross was promised that day he would enter paradise (Luke 23:39-43)
Satan would have us believe that certain sins make us “unusable” in the eyes of God. However Scripture is clear that all those who truly repent and believe will be cleansed.
We Have a Constant Forgiveness
Finally we have a constant forgiveness. This means that God’s forgiveness doesn’t end after Salvation. Because we as Christians still struggle with a sin-nature, God is faithful and just to “forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9).
Proof of God’s constant forgiveness comes from the foundation itself. Our forgiveness isn’t based on good works, but the Mercy of God (Ephesians 2:4-10) and the Love of God (Romans 8:37-39) which cannot ever change. It is true sometimes God punishes us for our sinful actions, but this is done in love (Proverbs 3:11-12) and is temporary (Psalms 30:5, 30:11-12).
The application of constant forgiveness is the blood of Christ covers all of our future sins not just past sins. We are promised Christ’s atonement is unlimited, there is nobody he cannot save, or no sin He cannot forgive. And instead of being held against us, those sins are “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalms 103:11-12).
In conclusion Christ offers to us an incredible opportunity to restore our relationship with God…we simply must confess, and repent of our sins. So let’s give up that sin that we have been hiding, and bask in the glory of God’s forgiveness.