Saturday, April 14, 2012

Understanding Forgiveness

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  ~Psalm 32:1
Do you know with whom forgiveness can be found?
What is your understanding of God’s forgiveness? For the most part, people today treat God’s forgiveness of sin as an option to be exercised or an escape clause in a contract which can be forcibly invoked at the recital of some prayer. What is implied here in this verse (and clearly taught in the New Testament), is forgiveness of sin is a blessing, because we cannot obtain it for ourselves—forgiveness of sin is a gift.

You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.  ~Psalm 85:2,3

The psalmist has a clear understanding of God’s forgiveness of sin. As he contemplates what forgiveness is, he notes God is the One who has taken the active role, God is the One who forgives iniquity, covers sin, takes away His wrath, and turns from His anger. There is no active role we play in the course of this transaction. Forgiveness of sin is a gift; some call it grace.

 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  ~Ephesians 2:8,9

A solid understanding of our sin being forgiven begins with grace. God does not owe us an opportunity for eternal life; in fact the only thing we have earned on our own is judgment and condemnation. People would do well to understand the facts before they begin demanding or expecting God to “make good” on what they think He owes them. If God were to do that, forgiveness of sin would not be a part of it.

For the wages of sin is death,  ~Romans 6:23a

The idea of God extending forgiveness of sin, as a gift, is an amazing thing indeed, and it is best appreciated against the backdrop of realizing we do not deserve it. When we can clearly see our inability to earn salvation, the word “grace” becomes a most precious thing. So many today have made such a light thing of God’s forgiveness; take some time today and think about it. I believe a good question to consider is, “what is my understanding of forgiveness?”

but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  ~Romans 6:23b

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