For the last month I’ve been working through a series where I show how God’s actions toward Christians are the ultimate example of several of the most common human emotions. We are comforted by God, known by God, loved by God and forgiven by God. I have not explained this series very clearly, so allow me to do that.
What I have attempted to do thus far is to show the progression from one of the least intimate and easiest ways of relating to others to one of the most difficult and yet most necessary. That is, to comfort another person requires almost no effort or relationship: You can comfort a baby or stranger, but to forgive a person can be incredibly difficult because of how personal it is. There is a progression between these, of course, from knowing a person, to loving them. Each is simply more personal and more difficult to do because of the progression.
What I have argued, of course, is that God perfectly displays each of these things. Though the people who should have comforted us may have hurt us deeply, God will comfort us. Though we may be ignored by those around us, God knows us, along with our fears and struggles. Though we have unrealistic expectations of love, God has loved us perfectly from the beginning of time. In the same way, though we have sinned greatly, disregarding his love, he has forgiven us.
Let me be clear, I am speaking to Christians in this last item. If you do not call Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour, I can make no claims concerning you, and the Bible does not speak well of your eternal destination. You can come to Christ and experience his forgiveness in full, but until such time, this does not apply to you.
Christians, know that in God’s love, he has indeed comforted you. He knows you. He loves you. Above all of these things, and far more importantly, he has forgiven you. In purely human terms, to forgive a person requires a release of anger and of desire for retribution against them for things they have done to you, and God has done this and beyond. That is, not only has he forgiven us through the actions of his son Jesus Christ, he has cast our sins as far as the east is from the west and has restored us to a right relationship with himself. Because Christ took our punishment upon himself in the cross and bestowed upon us his righteousness, God sees us as perfect, spotless and acceptable. He has forgiven us, yes, but at a great personal cost, namely the death of his own son.
Do not be mistaken, God has not simply turned a blind eye to our sin. He has not merely ignored it, freely allowing all to enter heaven. Rather, in sending Christ to earth to live a sinless life and then die on our behalf, God demonstrated his love and forgiveness for us, and yet executed the judgment for sins his perfect holiness requires. He is a holy judge, and he cannot simply overlook offenses against his very nature.
How then can Christians, as humans and sinners, ever be in right relationship with God? If he is truly a righteous judge, and we are truly sinners, why doesn’t he judge us now? This is the beauty of the gospel, that God would withhold the full weight of his judgment, choosing instead to bestow upon us the righteousness which his only son displayed in his supreme act of humility and love. In this way, according to the Bible, we can be at peace with God!
Have you experienced the forgiveness of God? Do you trust him to forgive you? It’s all too easy to have an intellectual knowledge of God’s forgiveness without letting that knowledge affect your life. I challenge you to carefully consider what God’s forgiveness does for you and what your responsibility is as one forgiven by God. Be at peace with God. As always, if you have any questions about this, or if you want clarification about anything I’ve said, feel free to get in touch with me.
In grace and peace,