SIN IS UNFORGIVING, BUT GOD IS MERCIFUL
Experience is the best teacher. At least this is what we learn from King David in Psalm 103. We, too, like his confession because we too have come to believe that we cannot help being or doing what we are. In spite of our transgressions, “He (God) does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us for our iniquities.” And “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10, 12).
I come from a background where Christians no longer sinned but made mistakes – violent mistakes. Yet, the same man that wrote Psalm 103 also wrote 51:3. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” David saw himself as an endless sinner in constant need to be forgiven by his Maker. Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus replied, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21). Wow, do we sin that much? In our thoughts alone, we commit endless sins. Fortunately, thoughts do not kill; nevertheless, that is where sins are hatched (Matthew 5:27-30). “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). How then does God forgive and what happens to sin?
The harsh reality is this. In this life and while we are in the flesh, we shall be tempted and troubled and at times yield to temptations advertently and inadvertently. In addition, sin leaves scars that cannot be erased in this life, but can be left behind when we depart this world. What we sow, we reap. Accidents, errors or mistake that happen to us cannot be corrected or replaced in this life. David could not erase, from his mind, what he had done with Bathsheba and to her husband. Personally, I cannot reverse the unintended accident in December 1951 that has disabled me for life. I cannot even get back my thoughts on retribution for the mistakes of others. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). They will not leave us alone until we leave this body. Even when we are spiritually reborn or were renewed in our mind, we cannot get rid of the marks of sin. What happens is, we tolerate sin and become more gracious and forgiving to ourselves and to others that transgress against us. I look daily at my scars and marvel that with God’s grace I lasted that long. I do long for deliverance from being handicapped (II Corinthians 4:2).
Salvation is forgiveness, divine and human. What then does it really do? I have been told that if I really believed in the power of Christ, He would restore me the way I was before the accident. I do not have that kind of faith and I have to live with myself. It is more than that. I had to learn to be forgiving and to forgive. I have not learned how to forget. The only One that can do that is God. And that, in essence, is how I understand my salvation. How can God forget what I have done in this life? It is because of the One called, “Jesus, the Christ” Who covered me with His blood. Beyond this death there is a second death that will not touch me (Revelation 20:6). It is very much like the blood on the doors in Egypt that kept death from entering Jewish homes. Christ’s blood covers God’s eyes from seeing what we were like in this life. It does not allow our sins to come with us before the Supreme Judge. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death,” (Romans 8:1-2). The physical law is only good while I live and my obedience to Christ helps me live within the earthly law. It guides me into God’s kingdom (Mark 10:19). The Greatest Commandment shortens our distance from the kingdom of God (Mark 12:34).
Sin is also relentless. It is Satan’s tool to keep man out of God’s grace, forgiveness and kingdom. Satan argued over Moses remains and he will over ours (Jude 1:9). Satan claims every sinner’s body (I Corinthians 5:5). He will afflict good people (Luke 13:16). He will hinder and confuse the most important followers of God’s Redeemer (Matthew 16:22-23). Satan is constantly seeking fault in Jesus’ followers (Luke 22:31). He is keeping God’s message from reaching many lives (Mark 4:15). He turned a disciple into betraying his Master (John 13:27). He has children in high places (John 8:42-47). He is on the rampage in the world (Revelation 12:12) and he is bestowing kingdoms on those that do his bidding (Matthew 4:8-9). He has established a counterfeit religion for the sole purpose of destroying Jesus’ followers (Revelation 12). Satan is the Antichrist and his time is limited to the time man has on earth. That is the only place and time where he can keep people out of God’s Kingdom. His time is short and so is man’s time. Praise God and thank Christ for not letting him have our souls. Satan can touch everything, but our life (Job 2:6). No one can take us forcefully out of God’s hand (John 10:28-29). Sin has no dominion over Christ’s people in eternity (Revelation 21:27).
The worst blow to Satan was when Jesus begged the Father to forgive Satan’s children for what they were doing to Him (Lk.23: 34). We, too, outwit satan when we, instead of dividing and fighting, forgive even when we think there is nothing to forgive (II Cor.2: 9-11). Forgiveness is God’s medicine for sin.