Tuesday, January 4, 2011



Forgiveness!  How can we wrap our minds around such a great need.  This has been a need since Adam and Eve were separated from God by their sin for indeed, this is what sin does to man.  Isa.59:2   Dare we say that we do not sin—that we are good?  Rom.3:23   We will never understand forgiveness if we do not understand our sin and our great need of forgiveness.  It is well described in Isa.64:6.  Visualize a mechanic coming in from working all day.  His hands, his rags are black with soil.  We may not have murdered or robbed a bank, but what about our attitudes, our thoughts of others, our deceit, our pride.  If we are honest with ourselves, this does not describe our Lord.

We can have hope and this hope is in the forgiveness of God.  Isa.57:15-18   God is described as the high and exalted One who lives forever.  God loves us for He created us in His image.  Gen.1:27   Note that He dwells with the contrite and lowly of spirit.  The “contrite” is remorseful.  That man is full of regret for things he has done or attitudes he may have shown—maybe even words he has spoken.  With that kind of heart we become humble.  God knows we sin.  He knows what, when, and where.  For God to dwell with us, we have to realize our condition and acknowledge it.  In verse eighteen God promises healing and guidance.

Human language can never adequately explain the love of God.  God and love are synonymous for God is love.  1 Jhn.4:8,16   If we think we are “good” and do not sin, a study of 1 Cor.13:4-7 might be in order.  Could any of these requirements be found lacking in our association with the loved or unloved?  We might partially be able to accomplish this with those that love us but how far would we go with the unlovely and even our so-called enemies. 

God loves us long before we learned to love Him.  He longs for His love to be returned.  God in His compassion remembers that we are but flesh.  Ps.78:38,39   When we come to Him, God is so willing to forgive.  Think of the joy in heaven when just one soul is saved.  Lk.15:7   We are important to Him.

Numerous occasions in Scripture remind us of how willing God is to forgive us.  Have you ever thought you were in a pit of nothingness?  Even in this despair, Isaiah was given this message.  Isa.38:17   Another picture of God’s forgiveness is shown in Mic.7:19   God mentions for the sake of My name a number of times in the Scriptures.  Ps.79:9   In Isa.43:25 God states that He will not even remember our sins.  What could be farther than the east from the west.  Ps.103:12

Even though the above Scriptures indicate great forgiveness, in the O.T. the meaning of forgiveness was somewhat different than in the N.T. or the new law.  Much remained to be accomplished.  Sins were “set aside” or “bypassed” by the use of animal sacrifices.  Heb.10:3,4; Lev.16:21   Yet plenty of incidents show God’s goodness and compassion in the forgiveness of sin in the O.T.  Ps.51:1-4   David had come to grips with his sin and implored God to forgive.  Another example of God’s forgiveness in the O.T. was in the case of the Israelites who were God’s people.  They had committed such heinous sins that God allowed them to be taken into captivity.  Yet this is what God tells them through Jeremiah.  Jer.33:6-9

Blood has been an important part of sacrifices to God from the beginning.  Gen.4:4   Abel brought a sacrifice or offering from the firstlings of his flock.  A sacrifice is the giving up of something valued.  Great care was taken of the slaughter of an animal and the handling of the blood of sacrifices under the Mosaic law.  Lev.17:11   Our physical life is determined by our blood as to death or life.  Our spiritual life is also determined by the blood of Christ.  Life is truly in the blood.

It was by the blood that the Israelites were saved to be led in safety from the land of Egypt.  The book of Leviticus is full of laws concerning the blood of the sacrifices.  Heb.9:22   This explains that about everything was cleansed with blood and then a very important statement is made.  Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

The Law provided sacrifices to God and by these sacrifices, which continued year after year, the Israelites could experience some form of forgiveness.  This was only a shadow of things to come.  Heb.10:1   Through this shadow God was showing His love all the time.  His people would stray.  Then God would give opportunity for them to return.  This would involve sacrifice for their sin.  Being a shadow, it was the outline or pattern of much greater things.  Heb.9:9  

What a gracious, compassionate, and loving God we have.  We can rejoice with David.  Ps.103:1-4
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me,
Bless His holy name,
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit.
Who crowns you with loving kindness
and compassion.

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