2004-11-23 - Pardon the Interruption
Ephesians 1:7, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace."
This devotion is from the heart, no commentaries helping me. I have been using commentaries and will continue to do so as I write on Ephesians, but this one is from my heart. Here we end our fourth week on verse seven, and I think we will move more quickly through Ephesians, from here on out.
In Christ we have redemption, but coming with redemption is pardon, and that is, maybe, where forgiveness hits home. God is loving, "for God is love," 1 John 4:8. God is merciful, "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness," Lam. 3:22, 23. God is holy, "And the four living creature, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who was to come," Rev. 4:8. These words are very comforting, but they become less comforting when we remember that nothing that is un-holy can enter the presence of God, and we are not holy. And here it is that we see another attribute of God. He is just, "Righteousness and justice are the foundations of Thy throne; lovingkindness and truth go before Thee," Psalm 89:14. This is what makes pardon for sin, the truth of redemption, so amazing. God is just - and yet, in our sin, through Christ's sacrifice, we are justified.
If you have not contemplated the magnitude of this truth, please take some time to begin to do so. This is huge. This is bigger than big. Sin is forgiven in Christ. We do nothing, save place our faith in His redemption. All other faiths (Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, you name it), have a way to earn salvation; we don't. Salvation is earned for us. We are helpless, save God's pardon. Pardon is so much a part of the Christian's life, that some marketing smarty should try to market stickers for the back of the car like those fish that many Christians put on, that simply say, "Pardoned." Redemption means pardoned. We don't hear much talk among Christians concerning the word pardoned, but it is a word that we should have on the tips of our lips. We are pardoned; those outside of Christ are not. We don't jam it down their throats, but we must speak freely of the grace of Jesus Christ and its effects on us.
This subject is so practical to the Christian. Being pardoned, we are free. We are free to put aside a speculative, worldly life and live for a purpose. We live for Christ who offers us eternity. I admit it takes faith, but I have be studying theology for 18 years, and I can only come back to Christ alone for hope of eternal life. The other faiths are inconsistent and don't offer pardon apart from works. The Christian faith is unique in this. However, in Christ we have that pardon, and we don't have to earn it. "In Him we have redemption," let us never forget it. Our redemption is "in him," not in ourselves.
When I was in Campus Crusade for Christ in college, we would share a little booklet and we would add an illustration about a judge. There is the judge in all his robes and glory. And here are we, charged with speeding, 130 MPH, and guilty as sin, and all we can do is plead mercy. The judge says, "You admit you are guilty, and so I convict you and sentence you." But there is a catch. The judge is also our Father, and He, through Jesus Christ, has redeemed us from our sin and already paid the penalty, and so He takes off His robe and says, "The fine has been paid, and you are free from your transgression." It is amazing, but that is an idea of pardon. We are guilty, and yet Christ has paid the penalty, and we are pardoned. That is redemption, and let us live with that - daily - in our hearts and minds.
Soli Deo Gloria,