Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say,
“No one is righteous—
not even one.
No one is truly wise;
no one is seeking God.
All have turned away;
all have become useless.
No one does good,
not a single one.”
“Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with lies.”
“Snake venom drips from their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“They rush to commit murder.
Destruction and misery always follow them.
They don’t know where to find peace.”
“They have no fear of God at all.”
Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
~1 John 1:9
He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us.
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.
Forgiveness is such an interesting concept.
The word itself can cause a flood of emotions; producing thoughts of people we’ve forgiven for the wrong they’ve done to us or of people that may have wronged us and haven’t yet received our forgiveness. Maybe it brings up mistakes from your own past and feelings of guilt, shame, regret, hurt and the people that have forgiven you for your wrongdoings and/or mistakes.
Regardless of what the word makes us feel, forgiveness should be a very important word in all of our vocabularies and maybe after today, it will cause some very different feelings too.
When we think of forgiveness we humanize it. We think of it on our terms, how we forgive and how we’d like to receive it from others. God’s forgiveness is unlike any forgiveness we could ever offer or accept on the human level. His forgiveness literally saves us every single day from our own bad choices. He knows we will sin again and yet He is always ready and willing and happy to grant us forgiveness NO MATTER WHAT. There is literally nothing we can do to ever cause God to love us less. There is no sin too big or too terrible that He will not forgive and at the end of the day there’s not really much He requires from us. Romans 3:22 says, “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are,” and 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” It’s actually pretty simple then: have faith and confess your sins.
The other crazy thing about God’s forgiveness is that we don’t get the consequences we deserve. In this world, we know that we’ll get a ticket for speeding, go to jail for stealing, and will get pretty sick if our eyes are bigger than our tummy. Here on Earth, we may face the natural consequences for our choices (and sometimes they’re pretty harsh), but after our lives are over, we won’t face the punishment we all deserve because Jesus took it for us. Ephesians 1:7 says, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son.”
If that’s not enough for you, He also says in Hebrews 8 verse 12, “I will remember their sins no more.” As people walking this planet that is a pretty impossible feat. We can certainly extend forgiveness to people…even inviting them back into our lives after they’ve wronged us, but I haven’t met a person yet that says they’ve truly been able to forgive and forget. God is able to see us like no other. He’s able to see our hearts, to see the guilt we feel and our desire for His forgiveness when we’ve placed our trust in Him. He desires for us to live free from the shame of our sins and to live a life each day filled with His Grace. He truly forgives and forgets.
For the cherry on top factor, not only does God forgive us and free us from the punishment we deserve, but He gives us eternal life with Him. While we don’t fully grasp the fullness of this gift, we can read in Revelation 4 that, “There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Living in this world today and reading that scripture can get almost anyone excited about the “new order” that’s to be experienced in Heaven.
I don’t know about you, but God’s forgiveness sounds pretty good to me. We tend to be our own worst enemies on the sin meter. We often feel like we haven’t measured up or done enough to earn God’s forgiveness, but my hope for all of us is that we can start to grasp that His forgiveness doesn’t work like we imagine it to. God’s grace is bigger and His love is deeper than I think we’ll ever understand on this side of heaven and I believe that’s a big reason he calls us to repent. When we ask for his forgiveness it’s humbling and it’s good for our souls. We’re able to talk it out, to acknowledge our sin, to express our guilt and to accept the freedom He so willing extends to each of us every single day.
Take some time today and really talk to God about your life, the season you’re in and the state of your heart. Open up and ask Him for forgiveness where you need it and fully receive it. Allow yourself to live today free from the guilt and shame you’ve been carrying and try to do it all over again tomorrow.
This one is all you!
Today’s post was written by Amanda Sanders.
Amanda has been married to her high school sweetheart Matt for 12 years. Together they have three kids ages 9, 7 and 4. In this season of life, Amanda spends most of her time drinking coffee, teaching children, doing laundry and repeating herself. Occasionally, she has some time for working out, reading for leisure and writing. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life Kaley campus.