From the Preacher’s Pen ~

Hopefully this time of year makes us think about much more than big sales and the hectic last minute rush to complete our shopping before it’s too late. Hopefully the season is at least a reminder of peace, good will and family getting together to share joy.

As Christians, as God’s family members we have the greatest joy to share just because of who we are and what our Heavenly Father has done for us. It is often that very joy that causes us some great struggles as we wrestle with what He has done for us. So it’s entirely appropriate that even as we share our joy, so we share our appreciation for what He’s done.

As people here on earth we come across some powerful things. If you are working with explosives, you have to occasionally remind yourself to be careful. It’s easy to become so complacent that you forget the precautions and become careless.

As recipients of God’s greatest gift let’s take a moment to remind ourselves just how much the blood of Christ our Savior actually does forgive. Why? So that we don’t risk becoming complacent.

How Much Does the Blood of Christ Forgive?

At the Last Supper Jesus was teaching us how the old Passover Feast was in reality a portrait of what was to come. In the death, burial and resurrection of Christ would come the reality of God’s salvation for His people. Just as the death of a lamb and its blood on the doorpost once saved the people of old, now the death of the Lamb of God and the blood applied to our lives would bring salvation, eternal salvation to God’s people.

In Matthew 26:28 Jesus says, “this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” Paul reminded the Roman Christians (Romans 5:8-9), “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Did you catch all that? God’s new agreement (covenant) with us begins with the forgiveness of sins. God demonstrated His love for us, not after we were right with Him but while we were still sinners, by giving Christ to die for those sins. In the uniting of us with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:2-5) we are justified (made right) by His blood. And in uniting with that great gift of God we become the “being saved ones” (Acts 2:47).

Paul explains this to the Ephesian Christians (Ephesians 1:7-8a) this way: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”

We are redeemed (freed! bought back from sin and the Devil’s possession, ownership, enslavement of us) by Jesus’ blood. Our trespasses (the Greek word is used of everything from minor offenses to the most massive failure) are forgiven by His rich grace. How is the grace applied? Lavishly! The Greek word is literally a gift so great that it is ridiculously more than enough to cover our sins!

One of the great struggles that we have is fully appreciating the fact that God can and does forgive me the sinner. Yet God says that He gives us so much forgiveness that it would cover tons more sin than we could ever have or imagine.

There is, of course, one caveat, one stipulation, one limitation: to receive such forgiveness we must be obedient, do what He tells us to do. Remember Romans 6 and Paul’s great lesson of what baptism does for us? Look at Romans 6:16 and you’ll see something very important: “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”

So just how much sin can God forgive with this great gift of Jesus’ own, sinless blood? Could He possibly even forgive me and all my sin?

Now, isn’t the blood of Christ powerful? Isn’t it amazing? Isn’t it wonderful? Yes, it is all that… and MORE!

The Apostle John reminds us: “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

When we continue our obedience, trying our very best to keep on serving our God (walking in the light) then He keeps on cleansing, forgiving our sins!

Obviously none of this works if we don’t obey (walk in the light). Hebrews 10:26-31 deals with that very issue.

So, in a very real sense our salvation, our purity before God, our forgiveness of sins is up to us! Do you want God’s forgiveness and resulting salvation? Then act like it!

How’s your life? Are you truly making the effort to make excuses? Or are you striving to serve Him who gave His own life to forgive all your sin?

~ Lester P. Bagley