The Pryor Times

Religion

May 3, 2012

Jesus offers complete forgiveness

The first chapter of the Bible tells us that man was made in the image of God.  Why did God make man and put us here on earth?  Generally speaking, man’s job is to serve and obey God.  Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.”

God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:15).  He gave Adam permission to eat of every tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  God said in Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

But Satan came along and said in Genesis 3:4-5, “You will not surely die.”  He told Adam and Eve that they would be like God, knowing good and evil.  So, they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit.  When man disobeys God, that is sin (I John 3:4).  Sin separates man from God.  That is referred to as spiritual death.  Physical death is when the soul is separated from the body.  Spiritual death is when man is separated from God.  Adam and Eve thus died spiritually that very day, just as God had warned.

Because of sin, man was no longer godly.  He had fallen from that state of holiness.  Every accountable person today has made that same mistake.  Paul states in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  But, thankfully, God made provisions for man’s forgiveness so that we can return to Him.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Christ paid the debt for our sins so that we might be godly and holy once again.  Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  Jesus paid the price for our sins so that we might stand justified in God’s sight.

God Himself exhorts us, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  Jesus says in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  That was impossible before Jesus died and shed His blood for us.  Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.”  With those imperfect sacrifices, there was a reminder of sins every year.

Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for sins.  When He died on the cross, His will, the New Testament, went into effect.  When sins are forgiven under this new covenant, God promises, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more,” (Hebrews 10:17).  So, when God forgives us, it is just as though we had not sinned.

As we look at the New Testament, the first four books tell us about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  These things were written so that we might believe that Jesus is God's Son, and through Him we might have life in His name (John 20:30-31).  The next book, Acts, is a history of the church and tells us what we must do to be forgiven of sins and become Christians.   The rest of the New Testament tells us how we should live as Christians.  In other words, it tells us how to be godly.

The Scriptures equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Peter tells us that God has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  Paul writes in I Timothy 4:8, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.  Heaven is the reward for those who obtain godliness through Jesus Christ and remain faithful to Him.  Jesus offers complete forgiveness; it is just as if we had never sinned.

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