The glory of God's forgiveness
Even though God's wonderful forgiveness is one of my favorite subjects, I have to admit that it is difficult to even grasp how real it is. From the beginning, God planned it as his generous gift, an expensive act of forgiveness and reconciliation by his son, the climax of which was his death on the cross. As a result, we are not only acquitted, we are restored - brought into harmony with our loving triune God.
In his book Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ, TF Torrance described it as follows: “We have to keep our hands over our mouths because we can't find any words that could even come close to the infinitely sacred meaning of reconciliation ». He regards the mystery of God's forgiveness as the work of a gracious creator - a work so pure and great that we cannot fully understand it. According to the Bible, the glory of God's forgiveness is shown by multiple related blessings. Let us give you a brief overview of these gifts of grace.
1. With forgiveness, our sins are forgiven
The need for Jesus to die on the cross because of our sins helps us understand how seriously God sees sin and how seriously we should also see sin and guilt. Our sin unleashes a power that would annihilate the Son of God himself and destroy the Trinity if it could. Our sin required the intervention of the Son of God to overcome the evil it causes; he did so by giving his life for us. As believers, we do not see Jesus' death for forgiveness simply as something "given" or "right" - it leads us to a humble and deep worship of Christ and leads us from the initial faith to grateful acceptance and finally to worship with our whole life.
Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we have total forgiveness. This means that all injustice has been wiped out by the impartial and perfect judge. Everything wrong is recognized and overcome - destroyed and made right for our salvation at God's own expense. Let’s not just ignore this wonderful reality. God's forgiveness is not blind - quite the contrary. Nothing is overlooked. Evil is damned and put away and we are saved from its deadly consequences and have received new life. God knows every detail of sin and how it harms his good creation. He knows how sin hurts you and the people you love. He also looks beyond the present and sees how sin affects and harms the third and fourth generations (and beyond!). He knows the power and depths of sin; therefore he wants us to understand this and enjoy the power and depth of his forgiveness.
Forgiveness allows us to know and know that there is more to experience than we perceive in our presently transient existence. Thanks to God's forgiveness, we can look expectantly into the glorious future that God has prepared for us. He did not allow anything to happen that could not redeem, renew and restore his work of reconciliation. The past does not have the power to determine the future to which God, through the reconciliation work of His beloved Son, has opened the door for us.
2. By forgiveness, we are reconciled to God
Through the Son of God, our eldest brother and high priest, we know God as our Father. Jesus invited us to join in his address to God the Father and to address him with Abba. This is a confidential term for dad or father. He shares with us the intimacy of his relationship with the Father and leads us close to the Father, who desires Him so much with us.
To send us into this familiarity, Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we can become aware of the Father's love and start living as his beloved children. The author of the letter to the Hebrews emphasizes the superiority of the work of Jesus in this regard: «The office of Jesus was higher than that of the priests of the old covenant, because the covenant, the mediator of which he is now, is superior to the old because it is founded for better promises… because I want to be gracious to their misdeeds and I don't want to remember their sins anymore (Heb. 8,6.12).
3. Forgiveness kills death
In an interview for our program You'r Included, TF Torrance's nephew, Robert Walker, pointed out that the evidence of our forgiveness was the destruction of sin and death, which was confirmed by the resurrection. The resurrection is a most powerful event. It is not just the resurrection of a dead person. It is the beginning of a new creation - the beginning of the renewal of time and space ... Resurrection is forgiveness. It is not only proof of forgiveness, it is forgiveness because according to the Bible sin and death go together. Therefore, the annihilation of sin also means the annihilation of death. This in turn means that God wipes out sin through resurrection. Someone had to be resurrected to take our sin out of the grave so that the resurrection became ours. Therefore Paul could write: "But if Christ has not risen, you are still in your sins." ... The resurrection is not just the resurrection of a dead person; rather, it represents the beginning of the restoration of all things.
4. Forgiveness restores wholeness
With our election to salvation, the age-old philosophical dilemma comes to an end - God sends the one for the many and the many are included in the one. That is why the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: «For there is a God and a mediator between God and men, namely the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, as his testimony at the right time. I am employed as a preacher and apostle ..., as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth » (1 Timothy 2,5: 7).
In Jesus God's plans for Israel and all humanity are fulfilled. He is the faithful servant of the one God, the royal priest, the one for the many, the one for all! Jesus is the one through whom God's goal of giving forgiving grace to all people who have ever lived has been achieved. God does not choose or choose the one to reject the many, but as the way to involve the many. In God's salvation community, election does not mean that there must be implicit rejection. It is rather the case that Jesus' exclusive claim is that only through him can all people be reconciled to God. Please note the following verses from Acts: "And in no other is salvation, nor is there any other name under heaven given to men by which we shall be saved" (Acts 4,12). «And it shall happen: Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved» (Acts 2,21).
Let us pass on the good news
I think you all agree that it is very important for everyone to hear the good news of God's forgiveness. All people need to know that they are reconciled to God. You are asked to respond to this reconciliation, which is announced by the Holy Spirit's preaching of the Word of God. All people should understand that they are invited to receive what God has done for them. They are also invited to participate in God's current work so that they can live in personal unity and fellowship with God in Christ. All people should learn that Jesus, as God's Son, became man. Jesus fulfilled God's eternal plan. He gave us his pure and infinite love, destroyed death and wants us to be with us again in eternal life. All of humanity needs the gospel message because, as TF Torrence notes, it is a secret that "should amaze us more than we can ever describe".
Full of joy that our sins are atoned for, that God forgives us and truly loves us forever.
GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL