“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23
The feeling of forgiveness is a wonderful thing. I remember as a small child doing something wrong or breaking something that I knew was very important to my parents. Sometimes I would get into these situation without thinking or just from my inherent curiosity, but once I realized what I had done a great dread came over me. When my mom or dad discovered my infraction, fear would grip my young heart. On occasion, when I would sincerely apologize, sometimes with tears, they would take pity on me and rather than the angry wrath I expected, there was tender forgiveness. What a great sense of being loved this brought. They saw my bad side, they learned my faults, but would love me and forgive me anyway. This gave me comforting assurance that my parent’s love was greater than my faults.
As I grew older, that wonderful feeling of forgiveness was felt less and less. It was not that I was less guilty of wrong doing. In fact, I committed more evils in my teen years than as a child. Neither was it that my parents had become hard hearted. The truth is, I learned to justify my faults. Although I hate to admit it, I grew less concerned of my parent’s feelings. Rather than feel the guilt, or confess my wrong, I would hide it from them. When that was impossible, I would make excuses or argue that I had the right to do as I pleased and at times I would lie.
As a young adult I had that great and wonderful feeling of forgiveness again. This time that forgiveness came from the One against whom I had committed a host of sins, God. The wonderful forgiveness was not granted until I stopped justifying myself, and stopped pretending that I was righteous and had done nothing wrong.
All of us have committed sins that are more than insignificant mistakes. We all appreciate compassion but we also understand the need for justice, especially when we are the one who was wronged. If someone commits a crime against us we are glad that there are laws to protect us and we expect the law to see that justice is served. When God’s laws are broken we stand guilty and condemned by His justice. However, Jesus Christ acting as our substitute satisfied God’s justice when He died on the cross. When we receive Christ by faith, His death is applied to our debt and free forgiveness is granted. Why would God offer forgiveness to the guilty and pay the price of justice so it can be given? There is only one answer, because He loves you more than you can imagine!
Pastor Tom Kline,
Castlegar Baptist Church