Before God created the world and all that is in it, God had a plan to solve our sin problem. God’s plan to make sin payment was a gift God freely gave to man. God tells us, all are sinners and the wages for those sins is death. This is the simple fact, without God’s grace, there is no hope for man. We can do nothing to pay our sin debt short of spiritual death.
There are two occasions in our life when relationship with God demands payment for our sins. First, prior to our initial forgiveness at salvation, we need payment for our sins. Second, after we are saved, we need sacrifice as we continue to sin. Without that initial sacrifice and without a continued sin payment we would be lost. Please understand there is nothing man can do to earn forgiveness for sin. Forgiveness is from God’s hand and at His discretion. Payment is made by the Lord’s sacrifice and forgiveness is given at His determination.
There are certain truths we must accept:
- It is about forgiveness. Everything in our lives revolves around the fact of forgiveness. The last thing taking place this side of eternity will be judgment. Where we spend eternity will be determined by forgiveness. Either we will be in the blood and consequently have forgiveness or we will be outside the blood and have no hope. Understand this truth, forgiveness is the only thing that matters. Everything is about forgiveness.
- We don’t get to decide the terms. Jesus stiffest condemnation was directed toward those who might have seemed to be the most Holy. Jesus condemned the Pharisees strongly. The primary problem was connected with the fact that this group made salvation very difficult by requiring man to keep rules God did not make. Today we tend to judge the worthiness of our fellow Christians in regard to forgiveness. To borrow a phrase from president Obama, “That is above our pay grade.” We don’t get to make the rules. We don’t get to determine who gets forgiveness and who doesn’t. We aren’t the keepers of the salvation gate. We aren’t able to determine what constitutes repentance and what doesn’t. We aren’t the football playoff committee, we don’t get to determine who is in and who is out.
- All sin is damning. We tend to determine grades of sin. Your sin is bad and I can’t fellowship you. My sin isn’t really all that bad. God will turn His head in my case. Why is it we tend to see the sin of others as bad and we see our own sin as something less? The truth is all sin separates us from God. We believe God tends to ignore the little white lies, the gossip, the divisive attitudes, judging the sins or maybe the repentance of others. At the same time we usually see the really serious, condemning sins as being those committed by others. We might well borrow the prayer of the Pharisee, “I thank you Lord that I’m not as other men.”
Think through this, without God’s grace all would be lost. God is looking for a way to save all men. In fact it is God’s desire that none should perish. Salvation is in God’s hand and by His determination. Rather than condemning all who understand or conduct themselves differently than we believe they should, let’s do all we can to serve God with thankfulness. Wouldn’t it be great if we sought peace and unity? Let’s live each day as our last, doing all we can to love God and our neighbor with all our heart and soul. Salvation isn’t based on our goodness, it is based on who God declares righteous.