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And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. "
Is Forgiveness Real?
Yes, forgiveness is real, but real forgiveness comes from God alone. Men can pardon you in the sense that they will not punish you but men cannot remove your guilt. It is the removal of guilt that distinguishes real forgiveness from pardon. Pardon cannot heal for it removes only the penalty while leaving our guilt intact.
Real Forgiveness Removes Guilt
Real forgiveness is the removal of guilt. It gives freedom to the soul and liberates the spirit. Forgiveness renews our life. Chronic guilt takes our life for it's very nature is destructive. Once the act is committed guilt becomes our master. We can ignore guilt, but only at the peril of our conscience. Guilt is like acid eating everything until there's nothing left. But God, in His mercy, has provided a way that we can be really and forever forgiven from all our sins, every last one of them!
God is able to forgive our sins, not because He is a God of love, but because the penalty of our crimes which are against Him have been paid. The gospel word is atonement and it means a satisfactory reparation for our offenses have been made. God is fully and completely satisfied with the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. He is fully willing to show all mercy to everyone who looks to Jesus for forgiveness of their sins; Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
We need to know that forgiveness is based in justice just as vengeance is based in justice. This is important to know for the atoning work of Christ makes God's forgiveness an act of righteousness; He is not overlooking our sinfulness, but forgiving our sinfulness, because of a real and a satisfactory atonement. Jesus, as the Lamb of God, was slaughtered for our sins. God, because a satisfaction has been made, will really forgive us, all our sins.
However justice cuts both ways. If we reject Christ then the justice of God will condemn us (which, by the way, is also a righteous act); if we receive Christ and His atoning work then the justice of God is satisfied and we receive mercy.
God Himself Has Always Provided a Satisfactory Atonement for Sins
We see Adam and Eve, the first of God's creation, sinning against Him. And then we see Adam and Eve experiencing the guilt and shame of their sin as they attempt to cover their nakedness with leaves. But we cannot cover our sins, and we see God Himself covering their nakedness with the skins of an animal. A death, a blood atonement, had to take place so that God could be just in forgiving their sin.
How Can Jesus Take our Sins?
Jesus can take our sins because He became a human being for the sole purpose of giving His body for the sins of mankind; it is death that makes a satisfactory atonement and He was given a physical body that He might die a physical death for our sins.
Heb 10:4-5 for it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5) For this reason, coming into the world, He says, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but You prepared a body for Me.
The power of the Gospel is that it perfectly defeats sin. It delivers us from the bondage of sin to favor with God; Christ has made us dead to sin and alive to God. We are joined to Him in His death and raised with Him in His resurrection; He takes us from the bondage of sin to the freedom of New Life. As Romans 5:1 says, being justified (made righteousness) by faith, we have peace with God. I can do that, I can be perfectly forgiven. Through the cross, I can stand before God, not guilty but forgiven, and therefore, perfectly right with Him. Jesus has made me perfectly right with God!
The great thing about forgiveness is that you don't have to be a great person to be forgiven. Even the weakest, most sinful person can be forgiven, and as a result, made perfectly right with God. The blood of Jesus Christ is that powerful.
God is perfectly and completely satisfied with the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. We cannot add to or improve upon the work of Christ. He is the only offering for sin, and He is the only one to defeat death, sin, hell, and our fleshly nature. No work is good enough, no amount of sincerity, no amount of effort can provide a forgiveness that God accepts. Forgiveness is by the blood of Christ and His blood alone
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Romans 3:23-24 (NLT)
23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins
He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions
Isaiah 53:5-11 (GNB)
5 But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received.
6 All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way. But the Lord made the punishment fall on him, the punishment all of us deserved.
7 “He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly; he never said a word. Like a lamb about to be slaughtered, like a sheep about to be sheared, he never said a word.
8 He was arrested and sentenced and led off to die, and no one cared about his fate. He was put to death for the sins of our people.
9 He was placed in a grave with the wicked, he was buried with the rich, even though he had never committed a crime or ever told a lie.”
10 The Lord says, “It was my will that he should suffer; his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness. And so he will see his descendants; he will live a long life, and through him my purpose will succeed.
11 After a life of suffering, he will again have joy; he will know that he did not suffer in vain. My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased, will bear the punishment of many and for his sake I will forgive them.
If you're seeking to be right with God, then come to Jesus, He alone can save and make you right with God.
Romans 10:9-11 (NLT)
9 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.”