Friday, March 12, 2010

THE ONLY WAY TO PLEASE GOD: Faith and Forgiveness

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has a constant refrain: “By faith…by faith…by faith…” in order to make it clear that, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb.11:6). Among those listed in God’s roll call of faith is Abraham. Of the patriarch, Paul writes in Romans four, that he was justified by faith—the same way, the only way anyone can be forgiven of sin.

In the high court of heaven, you can plead not guilty and go to trial—and the overwhelming evidence against you will result in your condemnation, or you can plead guilty and throw yourself on the mercy of the court. Then we find pardon from the God of all grace. Even more, when God forgives, He expunges every record of accusation against us.

Consider these words from John Phillips’ commentary on Romans:

Dr. Moon dramatically underlines this in the film Time and Eternity. After showing the various relationships of time, Dr. Moon concludes, “All of us have looked up, on a clear night, and seen the sparkling, twinkling stars. But how many of us have realized that we cannot see the stars as they now are? Every time we look, we are looking into the past, seeing them as they were…. But this works both ways. If you were on one of the stars you would, assuming an adequate telescope, see the earth as it was sometime in the past. From the star, Sirius, you could see what you were doing nine years ago, because in a profoundly true scientific sense you are still doing it. Yes, everything you have ever done, you are still doing, and will continue to do forever, apart from God’s forgiveness. Only the omnipotent, eternal God, who controls all the factors of time, space and matter, could ever remove sin. God says: ‘I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins’ (Isa.43:25).” When God cancels sin, He wills it out of existence; it is not only forgiven and forgotten, it is annihilated.

When we constantly wallow in guilt, after having confessed our sins, dredging up past failure already forgiven, will we not listen to God say, “What sin are you talking about?”

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