Friday, September 3, 2010

He is Faithful and Just to Forgive us our Sins


“He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9)

May the good news ring in our ears as we hear the truth that God forgives sins. Not only that the Bible says he forgives our sins. God’s forgiveness is personal to every person who will repent of their sins and trust in Christ for salvation. “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”

Christians will be people who see sin, repent of sin and have their sins forgiven because God’s Word teaches this truth. We can bank in God’s promise that he will forgive our sins. Two reasons are placed before forgiveness that involves God’s perfect character: He is faithful and He is just. This verse starts with, “If we confess our sins” which sounds like there is a condition placed before God responds; but true confession of sins can only occur when God has already awakened a dead heart to see sin. Repentance is part of God’s grace to his children. This shows God’s faithfulness to redeem a person and continue to mold and shape that person more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. A person who has been made alive in Christ will be a person of confession and repentance because of God’s faithfulness to his promises in Scripture. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2: “If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful.” Why? “For he cannot deny himself” (11-13). God cannot go against his perfect character. Which begs the question: How can a perfect God be just in forgiving sins?

The Bible clearly teaches God is holy and just (Isaiah 5:16) yet teaches that he forgives sin. How can this be? Holy God is unable to look upon sin therefore he is unable to look upon sinners. This would make it impossible for every human being to find favor with God. As sinners we all deserve hell. Justice demands eternal separation from holy God yet the text says, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” It seems that if sinners can be forgiven and brought into the presence of God for all eternity that God would have to be unjust in order for that to occur. Most people would be okay with God being unjust as long as they were able to escape the torments of hell but this logic is seriously flawed because if God were unjust then he would cease to be God. God is not unjust but merciful in sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for sin. This is what makes the gospel good news.

Jesus Christ came to live the life we could not live. He came to die the death that we deserve. He resurrected from the dead on his own power defeating sin and death. By his grace we can be forgiven of our sins. Paul sums this up beautifully in Romans 3: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (23-26). God is just and the justifier because he sent his Son to die in the place of his redeemed.

Isn’t God amazing? “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” May we as Christians see this great love the Father has for us. May stop to ponder the greatness of the gospel where mercy and justice kissed one another at the cross. If your heart is still hardened to the gospel may you be broken by this great reality that Jesus Christ came as a substitute for your sins so that they might be forgiven. Be warned if you reject this message God is faithful and just and he will reject you on the great Day of Judgment. Confess and repent and turn to Christ as your only hope for forgiveness.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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