It is a joy to know that there are several items in which petition can be made to the Lord where he says YES, Forgiveness is one of those prayer points. Todays Study is entitled Yes Forgiveness and will seek to demonstrate that this is one of the five areas in which we can truly trust and expect a positive response from the Lord.
We will follow the four main points begun on the study of Salvation.
- Is Yes Articulated….. For Salvation/Forgiveness/Faith/Peace/Wisdom?
In other words, is YES for Forgiveness specifically stated in the Bible, is it articulated by God, is it given to us that we may know and not guess?
- Is Yes Accomplishable for Salvation/Forgiveness/Faith/Peace/Wisdom?
In other words, can God perform that to which he affirms? There is little point trusting the affirmation if we doubt the affirmer.To most of us this seems a moot point because we believe God when he says it, but knowing he is well able to perform that which he affirms gives to us greater confidence in other items we pray for.
- Is Yes Anticipatedfor Salvation/Forgiveness/Faith/Peace/Wisdom?
In other words, is there a purpose in God for which we could be confident to anticipate a YES answer to our prayer?
- Is There a Costfor Salvation/Forgiveness/Faith/Peace/Wisdom?
In other words, is the subject of our prayer contingent or conditional on something from ourselves before the Lord would affirm our request? Anything we need to contribute?
There is a plague in our world that is destroying the lives of countless numbers of people. A plague so vast and so encompassing as to threaten civilization itself.
It affects people from all walks of life, rich, poor, bond, free. It affects Children, mothers, fathers, teenagers, boys, girls. It affects people in the military, people who work in hospitals and all fields of care. It affects Policemen and women, motor mechanics, athletes, in fact it affects every field of employment in the world. It affects business people and employees, it affects people who participate in works that are illegal and legal.
It extends outwardly from ourselves to affect our politics, our economy, our society and our very way of life.
The plague runs so deep in our society that professions have been created over the years to try and deal with it specifically. Religions have even been created to help deal with it. We have coping mechanisms and counsellors in primary schools, high schools and university.
We even have training put in place for those who are in Childcare employments to try to STOP the plague before it rises to the surface in the lives of young children.
The plague can certainly be terminal if it is not dealt with properly. People have taken their own lives because of the overwhelming effects of it in their lives. But that is the last identifiable symptom of this plague.
Initial symptomsare feelings of insecurity leading to impatience and anger, a fear of people and associations which leads to a desire to withdraw from peopleand eventually even from the world and just be alone.
Eventually a form of Metal illness becomes common. The drug industry in the world is thriving because of the increased level of infections the world over. Doctors never seem to be able to diagnose the problem accurately. The root of the disease is overlooked and only some of the symptoms are treated, symptoms such as Depression, Anxiety, and new symptoms created with terms such as Attention Deficit Disorderin the hope of medicating the most early signs in Children, even if those so-called signs are normal behavior and yet to have contracted the malady. So fearful is the world of it.
Medications people attempt to employ are vast:
We touched on one but as a symptom and that is the withdrawal from people, but distractions such as entertainments and Video games, movies and alternative pursuits, even diving into our work or physical activities seem to help the symptoms. Sexual proclivities of all sorts are used as a distraction but also have the effect of aggravating the disease even more.
One of the greatest placebos utilized today is Music, people walk the streets with headphones listening to their own private medication, anything but silence is helpful as adistraction.
But all these are mere placebos, they don’t deal at all with the problem
Yet the cure is as simple as the problem is grave.
The disease is GUILT, the CURE is forgiveness.
Truly this is a topic we could spend a great deal of time on. But for this study if the cure for guilt is forgiveness, then looking at this cure in detail will be a blessing to us and to all who consider it.
IS YES ARTICULATED FOR FORGIVENESS?
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
This short passage really says it all.
No doctor can deal with an undiagnosed problem.
In verse 8 the problem is both diagnosed and warned not to be ignored. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.
Sin is the cause of guilt, forgiveness is the cure!
THEN THE ANSWER
9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Turn to (Ps 130:1-4)
1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. 2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. 3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?4 But there isforgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
It is nothing other than SIN that creates guilt. To be cleansed from sin, means guilt is vanquished.
8And I will cleanse themfrom all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.
CONSEQUANCE OF SIN
40If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; 41 AndthatI also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
Turn to 2 Sam 12:7-14
And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
And Nathan said to David, Thouartthe man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and ifthat had beentoo little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wifeto bethy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. 11Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and givethemunto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For thou didstitsecretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. 13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. 14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child alsothat isborn unto thee shall surely die.
There are consequences for all sin, and that consequence is born out in life.
The phrase we hear so often about forgiveness is “Just as if I have never sinned” belittles the cost of sin both to Christ and to others. It is a selfish, willfully ignorant phrase.
IS YES ACCOMPLISHABLE FOR FORGIVENESS?
Sin can only be forgiven by the one who it is against.
If we steal from Peter we cannot be justified by restoring it to Paul. From whosoever is the crime committed, it is to them we own the debt.
When it comes to sin, that is the same.
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sinisever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and donethisevil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,andbe clear when thou judgest.
In Mark 2:7 Jesus was murmured against as a blasphemer with the charge “Who can forgive sins but God only”
Like any crime, sin cannot be just forgiven, it has a cost and therefore it has a debt that must be paid. To us naturally the Bible says “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), and this DEATH is the true Death, eternal death, separate from God forever in hell.
But lovingly and mercifully, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”
Lest you think there is no cost, please understand that someone had the obligation to restore the debt.
A Child whose bike is stolen is given little comfort by a thief who simply apologised without restoring the stolen item. The same is said for all crimes. The debt must be repaid, the cost must be borne by someone and it should never be the party from which the crime is committed.
Yet that is exactly what God has done for us.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 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.
21For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himselfa peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Therefore YES is Accomplishable for Forgiveness. God can forgive because the debt is paid for in Christ.
IS YES ANTICIPATED FOR FORGIVENESS?
We recall the passage read this morning for our reading in the book of Numbers 14:11-23. We note in that passage that Moses spoke of the nature of the Lord as relayed to him directly by the Lord.
He said “17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, 18 The LORDislongsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearingthe guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourthgeneration.” (Numbers 14:17-18).
In this he was referring back to God’s own declaration of himself to Moses prior to the re Writing of the Law on two new tables of stone replacing those broken by Moses against the transgression of the people.
Turn there with me, Exodus 34:1-7
1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. 2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. 3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. 4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clearthe guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
What we see from the most ancient of days and times that which is confirmed for us again in 1 John, that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.
From the most ancient times God made this, not only an articulated expression in his word, but as an essential characteristic of his very person! Consider carefully what he states in this Exodus passage from verse 5;
5And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty
The very reason Jesus came, suffered and died was to forgive sin.
Not only is it stated and articulated in the Bible, and not only has he accomplished it by legally paying the cost of sin himself, but it is the very purpose of his coming.
YES, when we pray for forgiveness, we can anticipate we will be forgiven.
IS THERE A COST FOR FORGIVENESS?
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive usoursins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
17For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. 18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
12Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. 13Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
The cure for the plague of GUILT that infects the world over is Forgiveness.
The only cost we bear this side of life is the acknowledgment of our own sin to the one we sinned against and to him that paid the debt for us.
SIN is the root cause of the plague of GUILT that sweeps the world. Sadly, it is our unwillingness to properly diagnose the cause that fails to cure it. The world is spending incalculable recourses trying to deal with the symptoms of GUILT, but will not admit the cause, because that means turning to GOD.
It is crazy and is contradicted by every craft we learn, it goes against every natural law.
We cannot fix the problem until we acknowledge the cause.
When it comes to sin, our pride is our greatest enemy.