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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1027. The cost of forgiveness (4/4/24)

This week, following on from Easter I want to reflect on the centrality of the cross. Today we think about how we can be forgiven if God must judge sin.  

‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.’ (Romans 3:23-26)

Lesson: To be forgiven, we must give our sin to Christ who is judged in our stead. 


You can listen to this devotional below:


Many think of salvation and going to heaven rather like a pair of scales, and if our good outweighs the bad we will be let of our offenses, accepted by God and allowed into heaven. This philosophy is the basis of all religion and spirituality. However, it’s not the basis of a Christian’s approach to God! 

I’m sure that we can all see that this approach quickly breaks down when the offence is more serious, because we know that it’s unrighteous to let someone off when a ‘wrong’ passes a certain level. However, if the problem of forgiveness - in the sense of letting someone off - can be hard for us, it’s impossible for God! Unlike us who are full of compromise, God cannot let someone off for any wrong, big or small! God, unlike us, is holy and is perfectly good and so, unlike us, He never compromises on judgment for sin! So how can we be forgiven or ‘justified’ by God?


Our text from Romans makes it clear that there is hope. We can be ‘justified’ (be accounted righteous) not because God, seeing the good we’ve done, has let us off, but because God has died in our place for our sin. For God to remain ‘just’ He has to judge all sin, but He has made a way to ‘justify’ us , whilst remaining just, by judging His Son in our stead. We enter into this free gift of salvation by faith in Christ. Our text reads:

‘God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.’ 

As the blood of those Old Testament sacrifices- foreshadowing Jesus’ sacrifice - restored fellowship with God, how much more does Jesus’ blood - His being judged and dying for us - reconcile us to God! Christ is our ‘sacrifice of atonement’. This means that His death puts us ‘at one’ with God. As we read Romans 3:23-26, we are reminded of the depth of our sin and the holiness of God. No one is exempt from sin, and it separates us from God. But God in His mercy has provided a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.


Response

To be forgiven, we must give our sin to Christ who is judged in our stead. Are we still falling back into the ‘scales of good and bad’ mentality? Are we basing our forgiveness and righteousness on our performance? Are we dishonouring God by believing that He will overlook our sin if we do enough good to make up for it? Are we making our opinions of what is good and bad the test of whether or not we or another is acceptable to God? Today, let’s see again that God is holy, we’ve sinned, we cannot save ourselves, and we can be judged according to our own righteousness or we can receive the ‘atonement’ and peace that come through faith in the God who died for us. 


 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

There are no notes for this week. However, if you are meeting, feel free to use this Easter Sunday devotional as a basis for your study and discussion together.

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