2004-10-26 - The Forgiveness of Our Trespasses
Ephesians 1:7, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace."
We have before us today the part of the verse, "forgiveness of our trespasses," or sins. It is common to think upon the vast mercy and grace that we find in God. Sometimes this might lead us to trivialize sin. So I would like to take a little time here, to look into how great a thing sin is. Remember, if sin had not entered the world, we would have had a happy life at all times. There would have been no sadness, sickness, or death. None of us would be wondering if we should try to get a flu shot, for we wouldn't need to worry about it. Because of sin, the earth which previously had brought forth a garden of wonder, would yield thorns and thistles. Because of sin women are now to bring forth children in pain. Those are just the firstfruits of sin. Think of sin today; murder, theft, accusing conscience, covetousness, hate, and so on, all stem from sin.
Because of sin, there will be a place for those who are not redeemed by the blood of Christ. This place will be a place of weeping, void of God's presence, and gnashing of teeth which will have no point of termination. This will be a place without hope, without joy, without love, without light. Hell will have no place of comfort within it. It will be full of the wrath of God. As we read in Colossians 3:6, "the wrath of God will come." We do our best to forget our sins, but God does not forget. It is only the blood of Christ that will cause God to pass over our sin and "remember it no more," Jeremiah 31:34.
That is the second part of thinking about sin. The bright side of sin is that in Christ, it can be forgiven. The greatest sinners, the blackest of sins can all be forgiven and covered in the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Reformer Martin Luther is known to have often spoken boldly. He did so also when he touched on the forgiveness of sins: "Jesus Christ is not a sham savior for sham sinners, but he is a real Savior, who offers a real atonement for real sin, for gross crimes, for shameless offenses, for transgressions of every sort and every size." The forgiveness offered us in Jesus Christ is complete, free, and it is immediate. We can never be too guilty to be forgiven. It is our guilt and sin that makes forgiveness necessary. Our guilt, piled high, might top mountains - but the flood of forgiveness in Christ will cover those mountains.
A young woman left home and moved to the big city. Without friends, she fell into the wrong crowd. She was a mess. However, a city missionary spoke with her, told her the truth about her sin, and by grace she was brought to repentance. The missionary asked her address and wrote to her father. She told the missionary it was of no use. She had dishonored her family, and she was sure that her father would not respond. They wrote the letter together, and laid out the entire case to her father. A reply came with the word "immediate" on the envelope. In the return letter the father said that he had prayed every day for his daughter, desired her to come home, that he had freely forgiven her, and he longed to hug her. It is not much different from the forgiveness offered to the sinner in Christ. He will freely forgive us, as He has already paid the price for sin. We may leap into His loving arms. The forgiveness of our trespasses is complete, immediate and free in Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,