Saturday, August 19, 2023

The most glorious word in the English language - Forgiveness

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

In the New Testament Jesus spoke to a man in need with these important and life-changing words, “Your sins are forgiven you” (Luke 5.20) and they brought wonderful comfort to the man who heard them. We also read in the New Testament these words, “And Jesus said unto her, Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7.48). and the woman who heard Jesus speak was greatly blessed.

These are the only two examples in the New Testament of Jesus telling people directly that their sins were forgiven, with one being male and the other female. This simply reminds us that God’s forgiveness is available to anyone whether man or woman, because we are all in the same spiritual condition of having sinned by breaking God’s commandments and therefore needing His forgiveness.

The man was a paralytic, while the woman was a prostitute.   The paralysed man had no choice about his lifestyle because through accident, illness or birth defect he could not walk. He could not work, he could not leave the house by his own efforts and he was totally dependent upon the support and charity of others. His paralysed condition determined his way of life. 

Sadly the lady had made a choice and for whatever reason,  potential poverty, loss of the breadwinner in her family or some other circumstance she had made a decision to sell her body for money.   She had entered an immoral life style and lived with the consequences of that choice. Thankfully both the paralytic and the prostitute received the Lord’s forgiveness and experienced His kindness.  

The man was brought to Jesus by his friends as he could not have reached Jesus by any other means, but the woman came alone and under her own steam with no one to support her.  One had the support of caring companions, while the other was bitterly alone as no doubt no one wanted to be seen with her.  Yet to both of them Jesus offered the wonderful spiritual blessing of forgiveness. The Lord’s love and blessings will reach out to all who will come to Him in faith. It  must have come as a great and glorious relief to both of them that their sins no longer condemned them but the burden had been removed by the wonderful grace and mercy of Christ.

Many see the deepest need of people today as being truly and fully forgiven. It is the late world famous evangelist Billy Graham who wrote, “In these days of guilt complexes, perhaps the most glorious word in the English language is ‘forgiveness’.” Yet the idea of forgiveness is not a shallow concept but a profound truth of Holy Scripture.  In the act of forgiveness by God there should be a turning from sin by the forgiven.  As someone has written, “Sin forsaken is the best evidence of sin forgiven.”

The Gospel is able to offer the blessing of forgiveness because Jesus, God’s Son, died for our sins on the cross and took the punishment for every sin we have committed. The result is that He can offer forgiveness to all who will trust Him and receive Him into their lives. This offer is to men and women in whatever condition they find themselves and nothing is too hard for God.  

In the two instances from the New Testament mentioned previously the man was forgiven and became obedient to Jesus while the woman was forgiven and worshipped the Lord.  The joy of forgiveness leads to a life of service, love and adoration to the One who provided such a glorious blessing by dying for us and rising again the third day.  Let us examine our own lives and seek the Lord for His marvellous forgiveness. May that be the blessing for each one of us.

Used by permission of Messages with Meaning  (27/02/21)
Written by Paul Young for Your542Day

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