Pain and Penalty
“. . . to grant . . . forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31
Forgiven! Is the word written across the sacred pages of the gospels. The world’s deepest problem is not poverty or ignorance, but sin. What the world suffers from is an uneasy conscience and a polluted soul. Forgiveness deals with our most desperate need.
And yet nothing seems simpler and easier than forgiveness. But, in reality, nothing is more difficult than forgiveness. Nothing comes with more struggle than to draw from the lips of those separated by a confession, “I have sinned. Forgive me.”
We live in a world that attempts to change situations by adding more laws. But law knows no mercy. To speak of forgiveness in a world of law is pure philosophy. But we are not in a world of law, we are in a world governed by a living, benevolent God.
Since we have a living heavenly Father and sin is a sin against Him, then forgiveness must be possible. In Psalm 51, David cries, “Do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” What he wanted was not only the removal of the penalty of sin, but the restoration of the favor and smile of God.
That is the very thing promised in the gospels, the restoration to love and be loved. Forgiveness is a change of relationship, it’s the substitution for alienation, it’s union instead of estrangement, it’s affection instead of animosity, it’s love instead of hate. In forgiveness, God releases us from the pain and penalty of sin. Only God can forgive that deeply. He not only can, He does.
Forgiveness is not given to us with a wink and a smile and the wave of a hand. It comes to us by the cross and the passion of the Son of God. Jesus suffered in our place and took the pain and penalty on Himself. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are freed from the law of sin and death. It is Jesus’ death that makes it possible for God to pardon us so freely.
Think of the cost of your forgiveness. Receive His cleansing work into the secret places of your soul.