“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2)
When we realize that it is sin that separates us from God, then we see the magnitude of sin and our enormous need for forgiveness. Only then can we know the scope of God’s plan and the great price that Jesus paid that we might have forgiveness. Therefor if there were no forgiveness through Christ, then we could never be reconciled to God and would be forever lost and without hope.
God’s plan of forgiveness and thus salvation is simple, but not unconditional as some would lead us to believe. If believing was all that is required, then even the devils would be saved, for they believe and tremble. James teaches that belief, or faith without works is dead, so there must be more required than simply believing. (James 2:19,20) Of course we all know, or should know, what a non-Christian must do to receive the forgiveness of God and be saved. One must hear, (Mark 12:29, Rom. 10:14) believe, (John 20:31, Heb. 11:6) repent, (Luke 13:3, Luke 24:47) confess, (Matt. 10:32, Acts 8:37) be baptized, (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Gal. 3:27) Let us not forget that it is man who has offended God and needs forgiveness, not the other way around. We must humbly comply with God’s terms for forgiveness, and not substitute a way or plan of our own design. This would be totally unacceptable to God, a waste of time, and we would still be lost and without hope.
I think we can all accept and agree on the importance of God’s forgiveness of our sins, but what about our forgiveness of our fellow man? In Luke 17:3-4 we read, “Take heed to yourselves. If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him, and if he repent, forgive him, and if he trespass against thee seven times in a day turning again to thee and say, I repent, you shall forgive him.” I have heard it said that if someone does not ask your forgiveness, then you are not required to forgive them. As with all matters let us look to Christ for the answer. As Jesus hung in agony on the cross, he asked God to forgive those very men who were crucifying him. (Luke 23:34) Those men had not repented and asked his forgiveness, but he asked the Father to forgive them anyway. Often those who wrong us could care less if we forgive them or not, but we should be quick to forgive for our own well being. Our attitude toward our fellow man directly affects our relationship with God, and is of utmost importance to the welfare of our soul. I find it is often much easier to forgive my fellow man than to forgive myself. But since God forgives us of all sin, we should ease up and forgive ourselves, just as we willingly forgive others.
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7).
We invite all who would, to come together with us each Sunday morning at Kedron on the Coopertown Road, Russellville, Kentucky, to worship God in spirit and in truth. We neither add to God’s word or take from it. Bible study at 10:00 and Worship at 11:00. If anyone has questions: please call 270-657-2455. Brother Richard Sitz speaks on the first Sunday of each month and Crittenden Drive Church of Christ has graciously supplied us with a host of guest speakers for the remaining weeks of the month. We invite one and all to come visit with us and be uplifted by these fine presentations of the “Good News” of God’s holy word.