2002-08-20 - Complete Pardon
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
Yesterday we focused some on sin and its remaining indwelling nature in our lives. I thought it might be worth taking a day and touching on the solution to sin. Pardon for sin is an amazing thing to consider because forgiveness is not grounded in anything else but the mercy of God. As the verse we started with tells us, God tells us He forgives us, "For My own sake." The verse also tells us that He remembers our sin no more. It is God who forgives and He does it for His own motives, namely to glorify His Son. His forgiveness is complete and lacks nothing. In fact it is often the case that those who have been forgiven much, and know the debt they owe to God's mercy, are the greatest soldiers in the Lord's army.
There is a story of a group of Russian soldiers many years ago who rebelled against their leaders. They killed the officers and were going to set about towards the capital. The Russian emperor went alone to the barracks where the soldiers were held up. He told them that he knew of their crimes and that they deserved death, but he promised them mercy and forgiveness if they would, that moment, lay down their weapons and surrender. They did so and laid down their weapons right next to the heads of the officers that they had killed. They were pardoned and those very men became the bravest and most outstanding men the emperor had in his army.
When we understand how vast a pardon we have in Christ it is a great motivation to faithful service to Christ. An understanding of our forgiveness will also lead us to hate sin in our lives. Our sin killed Christ. It would only be natural then that we would want to keep it as far as we can from us. And yet when Christ rose from the dead we rose with Him and our sin was pardoned in Christ's atonement. Augustine knew this when he met with one of the friends he used to cause trouble with. He met the man and the man called out to him, "Augustine, Augustine. It is I." To which Augustine replied, "Ah, but it is not I, I am dead, and made alive again." In Christ Augustine knew he was a new person. The Lord tells us in this passage, "I even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions."
This is the joy of the Christian. The Christians knows that in Christ our sins are not being pardoned, but rather they have been pardoned. However black our sins have been, however guilty we may be for our crimes, however many times we have returned to our sin like a dog to its vomit, they are all swallowed up in the mercy of Christ. They have been annihilated in Christ's atonement. God wipes out our transgressions for His own sake.
This is really only scratching the surface of the greatness of the mercy that is available in Christ. And it is available to all who seek forgiveness. The gospel of salvation is for "whosoever will believe," John 3:16. Race, wealth, social standing, education, and so on do not factor into who is offered forgiveness for sin. It is offered to whosoever. It is a complete pardon that Christ offers and while our sin might be great, the forgiveness offered in Christ is greater. I urge you to rest in that forgiveness offered in Christ alone for all your hope and trust.
Soli Deo Gloria,