THE POWER OF THE CROSS
THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
. . . In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1: 14)
This topic should have been at the beginning of our series, but I have left it to last because it sums up everything we experience through the power of the cross.
Do you know what it is like to be forgiven? Really forgiven? All the weight of your guilt removed; the torment of your conscience because of what you have done gone; the flashbacks and the regret of what you said or did, stilled.
Four men brought their paralysed friend to Jesus but they could not get him near Him. The house was jam-packed with people, and not one of them was willing to make way for him. They were too eager to hear Jesus to give him a place. What were they to do? There was only one answer. If they could not get him into the house through the door, they’d let him down through the roof! Then the people would have to make a place for him if they didn’t want him on their heads!
Fortunately they had access to the roof via the outside staircase. They lugged their heavy burden up the stairs, dug a hole in the roof big enough to get him through and slowly lowered him down on his sleeping mat until he lay at Jesus’ feet. What would Jesus do?
The man obviously needed healing. Would He heal him and send him on his way? Perhaps Jesus gazed at him for a moment, saw the pain in his eyes, perhaps the pain of memories he could not escape. Why was he in that condition in the first place? Did he believe that it was punishment for sin? Was there something he had done years before that still tormented him? Did he remember all the times he had disregarded the ceremonial law, failed to do his duty to God and his fellow Jews? And now he was powerless to make it right.
The first words that fell from Jesus’ lips were, surprisingly, not, ”Be healed,” but, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark. 2: 5b) Did you get that? First of all, Jesus called him “son”. What did that mean? Yes, he had sinned, but that did not cancel his relationship with His Father as His son. Not even sin could destroy that relationship. His guilt had long destroyed fellowship with God – in fact he was born in sin, but God’s forgiveness through Jesus would take care of that.
Jesus knew what he needed most of all, even before the healing of his body. He needed the healing of his heart and Jesus gave it to him unconditionally. Forgiven! Imagine that! No more regret. No more tormented dreams. Just peace. Peace. Peace!
The ever-present Pharisees were up in arms. They knew that there was no forgiveness without sacrifice. What right had Jesus to forgive sins? Did He think He was God? Where was the sacrifice? Little did they know that they would be partly responsible for making the sacrifice – not of an animal on the altar in the temple court but of the man they had come to hate because of His goodness, on the altar of a Roman cross.
You see, the death of Jesus was much more than just an event in history. It was the very heart of history – the pivot around which the whole of human history turned. Every animal that was sacrificed on the Jewish altar of God, in the tabernacle or in the temple, pointed backwards to what had already taken place in eternity, and forwards to what would happen at a moment in history.
Could Jesus forgive his sin? In spite of the religious leaders’ objections, yes, because He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. God planned it before man sinned, and the effects of the one event in history covered all sin for all time. Those who sinned before the cross were invited to put their trust in a lamb because the Lamb of God would be manifested on earth to reveal what He had already done in heaven.
Forgiveness! Yes, Jesus had the authority and the power to forgive sins because He bore our sin in His body on the tree. He was the sacrificial lamb and the scapegoat who took away our sin, removed our guilt and set us free to follow Him.
This is the power of the cross!
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
For more details, check my website:
Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?