Thursday, 4 November 2010

Thinking Thursday: Forgiveness and the Justice of God

Awareness of guilt can be an awful thing.
Psa.32:3-4 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

There are two ways to cope with guilt:
1. Redefine it so as to reduce personal responsibility and personal failure
2. Face up to it as a reality, accept responsibility for it, and cope with it from a position of responsibility Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven."

Conviction or Condemnation
We have to be careful to distinguish between conviction and condemnation. The devil will condemn us, and make us feel hopeless. The Holy Spirit will convict us and give us the power to deal with our sin.

John 16:8 When he comes, (the Holy Spirit) he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin.
the devil is 'the accuser of our brothers'
John 8:44
the devil is a liar: When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The Basis of Forgiveness
We can be confident that forgiveness is available to us, because of the basis of forgiveness.

1 John 1:9 on the basis of justice, not mercy: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

With the demands of the law satisfied by Christ's death, God is legally and morally obligated to forgive us.

The Unforgiveable Sin
One thing that bothers many people is the question of the unforgiveable sin.

Mark 3:29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.

The Holy Spirit convicts us and points the way to forgiveness. To resist the working of the Holy Spirit therefore closes the way to forgiveness. Thus the unforgiveable sin is not an act one can commit in a moment but is a refusal to accept the only means of obtaining forgiveness.

1 John 1:7 'the blood of Jesus … cleanses us from all sin'
Rom.8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
See also 1 John 1:9 above

What God Does with our Sin
Ps.103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
East and west are non-existent points. In travelling east you never meet west.

Isa.38:17 … you have put all my sins behind your back
God sees everywhere, so this has to be very far indeed – outside existence!

Isa.43:25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers them no more
God knows all things and cannot forget. He deliberately refuses to recall our sins.

Rom.8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Only Satan brings condemnation.

1 John 4:17 Love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him.
Why will we have confidence? Because in this world, we are like him.

[Based on Christ For Real by Charles W Price]

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