The Bliss of Forgiveness

“Son, your sins are forgiven (Mk 2:5),” are wonderful words which came from the mouth of Jesus. He spoke these to a paralytic at Capernaum, during His earthly ministry (Mt 9; Mk 2; Lk 5). Invariably, the question appears, “Who can forgive sins except God alone (Mk 2:7)?”

Jesus’ identity is revealed in this exchange, and a logical conclusion must follow. Jesus is either the Son of God, or He is a blasphemer, who was making Himself out to be equal with God (Jn 5:18). True believers in Jesus are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because God has given us someone to believe in (Jn 3:16; Rom 1:16–17). He has given us the Spirit of Christ, who has made us believe, by granting us faith in God’s only begotten Son (Phil 1:29).

Having been made alive together with Christ (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). Forgiveness is proclaimed to us (Acts 13:38), as an element of our salvation, “Help us, God of our salvation, for the glory of your Name; and save us and forgive our sins for the sake of your Name (Ps 79:9).” Clearly, God is glorified in the act of forgiveness.

God’s own justice obligates Him to punish sinners who have broken His Law (Mt 25:46; Rom 1:18; 1 Jn 3:4; Jude 7). Therefore, God has set a day on which He, through Jesus Christ, will judge the world, heaven and earth, in righteousness (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5). Without forgiveness, the sinner must pay the debt of sin He owes. Because hell is eternal, we come to some semblance of sin’s offense to God.

Eternal punishment in eternal hell should be repulsive to people and drive them to the solution. Instead, they press on in sin, not believing the warnings of Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts sinners and gives God’s people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins (Lk 1:77).

The jet airliner with an engine on fire produces passengers who are grateful to the captain safely navigating them back to the airport. So, it is with the ones who have been saved by Jesus, made aware of the great peril that loomed nearby. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered (Rom 4:7).”

The sins of God’s redeemed people have been covered the blood of Christ. The buyback of God’s people (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23), from the slave market of sin (Rom 6:6), is a redemption through His blood (Eph 1:7). This is why Jesus’ blood is called, “precious (1 Pet 1:19).” It releases us from our sins (Rev 1:5), having been the currency to cancel our debt of sin (Col 2:13). Jesus paid it all.

The Apostle Peter gave his defense before the Jewish authorities, regarding Jesus, “He is the One whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31).” Later, before the Roman centurion, Cornelius, Peter continued, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43).

Jesus forgave the sins of certain people during His earthly ministry, and now enthroned and exalted, He forgives those who place their trust in Him, by His grace. Having received this grace and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the believer is baptized with water (Acts 2:38), which is the New Covenant sign of having been cleansed and accepted into the fellowship of Christ’s church (1 Cor 12:13).

The effect of being forgiven of one’s sins is a life of forgiving others. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Eph 4:32).” Paul made this principle his practice with the Corinthians (2 Cor 2:10), knowing it was important to each individual Christian (2 Cor 2:7).

Jesus taught how relationships were dictated by whether one forgave the sins of another or whether the sins were retained (Jn 20:33). Thus, just as when we confess our sins to God, the realization of His forgiveness has a powerful healing effect on the relationship (1 Jn 1:9), so we bear with one another and forgive one another (Col 3:13). Forgiveness is essential in maintaining the unity of the body in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3).

The Spirit of forgiveness should prevail so that love does not grow cold among the brethren. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him (Col 1:14); therefore, for His name’s sake (1 Jn 2:12), we forgive others in reflection of Christ on the cross, who forgave those who committed gross injustices toward Him (Lk 23:34).

Christian witness is blissful when we forgive others, in reflection of the forgiveness we ourselves have received from God. We live in a world of sin, filled with sinners who are sinning all day long. Just as they sin against God, they will sin against you and you against them. Therefore, pray for forgiveness for yourself and pray for those who trespass against you, so that forgiveness of sins prevails (Jas 5:15).

There is only one acceptable offering for sins (Heb 10:18), and without the shedding of Christ’s blood, there is no forgiveness (Heb 9:22). Jesus Christ forgives sinners, and sinners must go to Him alone for forgiveness of sins. Going to Christ in prayer and in the Spirit, let us be confident that we are forgiven by His blood atonement. Then, let us preach and practice the forgiveness of sins.

O Father, how wretched and guilty we were outside of Christ. Thank you, Jesus, for sacrificing Yourself on the cross for your bride, your church. Holy Spirit, may you teach us forgiveness of sins all of our days in this fallen, sinful world.

Forgive us, O God, as we remember what was done on our behalf and for our benefit. May we be conformed to the likeness of the One who loved us, forgave us, and who released us from all our sins. Grant us the grace to do unto others as it has been done unto us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

March 10, 2021

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher