From the Pastor
I Believe in The Forgiveness of Sins
To believe in the forgiveness of sins is to assert a couple of things about God. First, it implies that God has set a moral order in the world – some things are wrong and some that are right. We see this in the very first book of the Bible. In the Garden of Eden God placed two trees, The Tree of Life and the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God did this to offer Adam and Eve, and us, a choice to love and trust God or turn away from God. We know how that turned out.
After our failure in the Garden God gave us clear commandments about right and work. The commandments were first embodied in the Law. Later Jesus modified these commands by eliminating some and deepening others. Paul then spelled some of these out explicitly in the various vice lists in his letters. These lists were in perfect harmony with Jesus’ elaboration on God’s Law.
To say we believe in the forgiveness of sins is also to assert that God is Just and righteous. Because God is just, God cannot merely wink at sin, it must be punished or atoned for, else God is not just.
Knowing that we could do nothing to atone for the sins we committed, God made provision for in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. As the Apostle John says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8–9)
To say I believe in the forgiveness of sins, then, is to say, I believe that God has the right to set a moral order in the universe and the right to determine what is right and what is wrong. It is also to say that I do things that go against God’s moral order and deserve punishment from a just and righteous God. To believe in the forgiveness of sins is to trust that when I confess my sins to God, that God will keep God’s word and forgive my sins, not because of any worth I have or anything I have done, but only because Jesus gave his life to atone for my sins.
To truly understand the forgiveness of sine is to live in humility and gratefulness to a God who loves me more than I can possibly know. When Paul reflects on the mercy that has shown to Jew and Gentile alike all he can say is: O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)
All I can say to that is, Amen!