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Author Topic: Forgiveness of Sins and Salvation  (Read 19016 times)
airIam2worship
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« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2006, 12:58:49 PM »

The PRICE of Forgiveness (part 1)

"In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."--Eph. 1:7

A retrospective glance promotes intelligent advance. The need of pardoning grace has been established. Sin appeared a grievous, an appalling, a universal malady, spreading wide infection--it held Adam's family in iron grasp, and branded them as criminals awaiting execution. No lip could qualify the truth--"All the world is guilty before God." (Rom. 3:19.) The province of nature and of self disclosed no hope. On one hand there was no help; on the other there was no refuge. Above, righteous anger frowned; below, perdition yawned. Despair seemed ready to engulf when the fair fields of grace arose to view, and a tender voice resounded--"But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him."

Next the inquiry was probed, "How can forgiveness acquire life?" In such matter no unsubstantial answer can give peace--anxious feet refuse to stand, except upon a solid rock. Scripture quickly removed all doubt--grace is proclaimed as the fountain-head of pardon. "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Thus a scheme of forgiveness gains birth--it springs from the deep source of grace--it flows on in this channel, ever widening, expanding, and thus swells into the ocean of eternal glory. The word stands as a bright pyramid--"By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves--it is the gift of God." (Eph. 2:8.)

But trembling sinners may still be tossed by ebbs and flows of fears. Sins continually start up in affrighting forms. Conscience drags them to light, as multitudinous as ocean's sands, as terrible as an army of giants. A dreadful book of account contains within and without unanswerable indictments--it shows charges of debts to God's justice, rebellion against His rule, robbery of His due, defiance of His authority, insults to His majesty, estrangement from His service, hatred of His holiness, contempt of His law--perpetrations all abominable in His sight. How then can grace, yearning to confer forgiveness, erase reckonings so countless, so black, so great! God is just, as surely as He is gracious. Grace cannot trample upon righteousness; holiness cannot be ignored. "God sits upon the throne of His holiness." (Psalm 47:8.) "Holiness becomes His house forever." (Psalm 93:5.) Truth too, demands that its every word shall be magnified and honored. How then shall grace bring in forgiveness? Such tremblings haunt many breasts.

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« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2006, 01:00:15 PM »

Here the Scripture in our front gives sweet reply. Its lovely light dispels these darkening clouds, and fills the skies with rays of peace. Let emphasis rest on its central clause--"In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."

Grace originates forgiveness not arbitrarily, not in disregard of holy claims, not in violation of His co-equal attributes; but in fullest recognition of Jehovah's unity. Just payment must be made; and it is made by the atoning God-man. A wondrous stream flows from the wondrous cross--its value is infinite, because He who renders it is infinite. Its inherent boundlessness merits, earns, procures boundless remission of guilt--there can be no limits to its excellency; therefore there are no limits to its efficacy. As far as the east is from the west, its reach extends; therefore far as the east is from the west, it removes transgression from God's sight. It is unfathomable as the ocean's depth; therefore it buries all guilt in caverns beyond Omniscience's sight. Oh, scheme divine! It is surpassing ecstasy to ponder and adore it.

Sin might be punished without effort on the part of God. Let Him speak the word, and the armies of heaven issue forth to bind the tares in bundles for the burning. Let the restraining chain relax, and the inexorable jailer drags the condemned criminals to his cells of torment. Men left to their own ways will quickly people hell. It requires no intervention to destroy; but to introduce forgiveness demands the energies of heaven. This grace can gain no existence but through the death of God's co-eternal Son. Because He dies, forgiveness lives--all who are screened by forgiveness are cleansed and washed in blood. It is distinctly written, "Without shedding of blood there is no remission." But this remission is secured; for Jesus gives the assurance--"This is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matt. 26:28.) Thus the sacramental cup commemorates the full price paid, and echoes the words, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."

Let now water be drawn from the deep wells of these glad tidings. Let the price be considered as covenanted, foreshadowed, sufficient. Other properties will present food for after-thought.

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« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2006, 01:01:32 PM »

I. It is a COVENANT price. The everlasting covenant has exact terms--among them the price of blood is foremost. Let thanks be given for such a covenant, in all things ordered and sure. Let thanks be given that the Holy Spirit draws back the curtains of heaven's council-chamber, and shows some glances of the scene. Let the privilege of pondering these mysteries be gratefully and reverently used.

Here is a field in which no idle curiosity may sport, or sceptic speculation place unhallowed foot; but, traversed by faith, it leads into rich pastures. Revelation then discloses a covenant framed before the foundation of the world. The eternal Father stipulates with the co-eternal Son that Jehovah's glory shall be magnified in the accomplishment of salvation. To Christ belongs the main concernment--He is the substance of the whole--He is so intertwined in every part that He is emphatically called the Covenant itself. It is the Father's voice--"I will preserve You, and give You as a Covenant to the people." (Isaiah 49:8.) He is the "Surety" of it. As such He is pledged for the performance of its every term. He is the "Messenger" of it. As such He publishes its sure mercies. But especially He affixes to it the seal of blood. To accomplish this He takes man's nature, becomes bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, and thus is qualified to pay the price.

In foresight of this expiating death the prophet proclaims, "By the blood of Your covenant I have sent forth Your prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water." (Zech. 9:11.) The Apostle re-echoes the same--"Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work." (Heb. 13:20, 21.) Thus the covenant of eternal origin demands blood--forgiveness must be purchased by this price.

Peter, gazing with rapture on the scheme exclaims, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake." (1 Peter 1:18-20.) Thus line upon line confirms the glorious truth that blood is the covenanted price of forgiveness.

The Apocalypse in varied terms gives repetition. In its visions "the Lamb slain" appears. The countless multitude are arrayed in robes, "white in the blood of the Lamb." The rebels against God are described as they "whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Rev. 13:8.) The victim dies--conditions are fulfilled. O Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, who will not bless You, who will not adore You--that You did covenant in eternal counsels to shed Your most precious blood to purchase forgiveness, and in time did redeem the pledge!

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« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2006, 01:02:50 PM »

II. The price of forgiveness is not only covenanted and fore-ordained, it is also FORE-SHADOWED. What grace arranged before time was, grace quickly testifies when time begins. Thus, before the cross was raised, its shadow cast its length over preceding ages. Before the price was really paid, foresight of it breaks forth in types, in visions, in prophecies, in promises. Heralds' voices proclaimed that He was approaching who would pay down the ransom. Let Eden's garden commence the proof. There sin enters and guilt is contracted. Punishment must follow. The woman's seed is announced as coming to avert this woe. The tempter shall bruise His heel, but He shall bruise the tempter's head. Here are the intelligible tidings that a Deliverer should expiate by suffering. But in the garden more than this promise is given. The skins of beasts are used to form a clothing--natural death touched not these animals; no conclusion can be held but that they died in foreshadowing sacrifice. Thus the covenanted price assumes the distinct form of 'shed blood'. This typical blood flows on in never-ceasing stream--it continues its teaching at every patriarchal, every Jewish altar, in every sacrificing priest, in every reeking knife, in every dying victim, in the temple, on the great day of atonement, before the mercy-seat. Has this uniformity of blood no voice? Truly it anticipates the blood of Calvary for the forgiveness of sins.

The elders of the family of faith clearly saw its purpose--they rejoiced in sight of the foreshadowed price. Here was the essence of their peace, the strength of their hope, the power of their prayers. Such is the constant pleading at the throne of grace, "Wash me throughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." Shall we, who can go back to Calvary and behold the price there paid, scruple to rejoice in the finished work, and to sue out its benefits? Rather let our trust in the accomplished work exceed the confidence of those who saw it only through the vista of long distance. We who live under the beams of the mid-day sun, should not be less joyous than those who saw through a dim twilight.

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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2006, 01:04:47 PM »

III. It is a SUFFICIENT price. Vain would have been the covenant, vain the foreshadowing, if the price had failed in worth. But it is all-sufficient. The vastness of the demands indeed exceeds all thought. Satisfaction is due for all the injuries done to all divine requirements. The law requires perfect love at every moment of time, in every movement of the mind, in every thought, and word, and work. Every deviation, every shortcoming subjects the transgressor to the inexorable curse. O sinners, carefully view the debt of your sin! Pile mountains upon mountains until heaven's summit be overpast--the pyramid of your iniquities raises a far higher head. Count all the sands which ocean's bed contains--the multitude of your iniquities is an outnumbering mass. For each offence the uttermost due must be paid, or the dreadful sum remains, and no door is opened to admit forgiveness--but the God-man brings price sufficient. Let justice now present its scales--in the one scale let sin be heaped; in the other scale let Jesus place His meritorious blood. It instantly and infinitely prevails. Justice can ask no more. Infinite worth is its inseparable adjunct--it is paid by Jehovah's fellow. This offering is greater homage to God's attributes than all earth's ruin--it brings more glory to Jehovah than the endless punishment of all who ever sinned. Their never-ending endurance could never have reached the end of the demand; but the blood of boundless value at once liquidates the whole.

Where sin tremendously abounds, the price most gloriously superabounds. Let the thought give comfort. Forgiveness thus comes not only most graciously, but most righteously. No holy requirement is relaxed--God is inflexibly and unchangeably just, while He freely justifies. It is a grand word, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9.) Thus all obstacles are removed; the gates are widely open; the portals give free way. Forgiveness has clear path; it may enter every home and every heart, blotting out all sins, and bringing back the sons of faith to the bosom of a reconciled Father.

But one phrase of the text must not be overlooked. It is written, "In Him we have redemption." In Christ, in Christ alone, forgiveness dwells--He is the sphere, the element, the home, the condition, as He is the price of it. It is the exclusive portion of those who are in Him, who dwell in Him, are engrafted into Him, are cemented into Him, are united to Him, are one with Him, buried in His wounded side, risen with Him to newness of life, seated with Him in heavenly places. Apart from Him forgiveness has no place--there is only a fearful looking for of judgment to come; therefore Scripture cries, "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near;" "Return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy, and to our God for He will abundantly pardon."


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« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2006, 01:08:12 PM »

The PRICE of Forgiveness (part 2)

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."--Eph. 1:7

Forgiveness of sins still sparkles before our eyes as purchased by a wondrous price. The immensity of the claims against the sinner has shown a giant form--except these claims be fully satisfied forgiveness has not free course. The avenue is closed--it cannot fly to earth. But satisfaction is rendered--thorough price is paid. Jesus presented His blood. Its worth prevailed--all demands are cancelled.

This price has been already viewed in some of its aspects. It has been pondered as a COVENANT price, pledged in everlasting counsels, set forth from the foundation of the world. It has been seen as FORESHADOWED; announced in no ambiguous shape by types of multiform variety, and heralded by a long train of prophecies. It has been proved to be SUFFICIENT--it reached to the length and breadth, the depth and height of every requirement. It entirely silenced each opposing adversary--it enabled every holy attribute of God joyfully to concur in pardon. Thus forgiveness strides forth arrayed in conquering garb.

But the properties of this price are not yet exhausted; indeed they are, in every sense, inexhaustible. Let it suffice to add (4) it is accepted; (5) it is peace speaking; (6) it stands alone, without a colleague. May God, the Holy Spirit, supply each word! May He send forth the Gospel sound! May willing hearts receive it!

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« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2006, 01:10:45 PM »

IV. It is ACCEPTED of God. The soul which has groaned beneath the load of sin, and trembled under apprehension of divine displeasure, and been scared by the thunders of the broken law, and seen hell gaping in the front, cannot easily be persuaded that forgiveness removes all peril. It dwells among startling fears, and trembles as on haunted ground. The willingness of Jesus to bear all guilt may be allowed; the infinite worth of His offered blood may be readily acknowledged--but misgivings may arise as to the acceptance of the offering. May not the price be rejected? If so, the guilt remains uncancelled, and punishment is not averted. May not justice turn from surety-payment? May it not inexorably require personal redress for personal offence? But these tremblings quickly vanish before Gospel-statements. The evidence is absolute that the price is graciously accepted. Grace plans the saving scheme and grace receives it.

The main proof comes from Jesus' resurrection. At Calvary He dies, and the price of blood is paid. If here the scene had closed, and Jesus had lain hidden in the tomb, the balance might have trembled between hope and fear. Optimistic hope might have maintained that such wondrous blood must certainly prevail; but fears might have whispered--There is no evidence of success--perhaps some difficulty has intervened. But when it is seen that death is impotent to detain the Substitute, that the shackles are relaxed, that the prison bars fly back, that the grave restores the victim whose blood had flowed, that the Surety returns, that He who was dead appears alive--then the evidence is complete, that the price is accepted, and full acquittal is obtained. Jesus by showing Himself alive by many infallible proofs sets to His seal that perfect success crowns the gracious work, that all the stipulated terms are fulfilled, that the price is accepted, and forgiveness granted.

Faith revives and triumphs when contemplating this blessed fact. Let thought fly back then to the resurrection day. Behold Jesus standing in the midst of the disciples. Here is no imaginary vision. Here is no phantom. He appears in a body of flesh and blood. The same body which had been consigned in lifeless weakness to the tomb is now re-animate with all the faculties of life. His living voice utters words of comfort--"Peace be unto you." But what peace could guilty sinners take, if their forgiveness had not been achieved? Therefore when He had so said, "He showed unto them His hands and His side." The visible wounds prove that the payment of blood had been paid; but the wounds are exhibited by 'Jesus restored to life'. Here is proof that the payment was accepted, and the Surety was in consequence released.

Yet further apocalyptic vision opens to view the courts of Heaven. One stands in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders. He bears the form of "a lamb, as it had been slain." What is the significance of these marks of death? The signs prove that the extremest penalties of sin have been undergone--that the Lamb has died as an atoning victim. But death has not detained Him. He is alive--alive in heaven, alive before God. The Lamb who was slain is liberated and absolved, and exalted to all heaven's glory on the right hand of the Majesty on High. Perfect is this assurance--bright is this manifestation of accepted price! Where can doubts now show their face! They vanish as mists before the orb of day. The price is indubitably accepted--sins are forgiven--blood-bought souls are fully redeemed.

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« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2006, 01:27:30 PM »

V. It is a PEACE-SPEAKING price. Peace between heaven and earth--peace in the conscience--flows entirely from the work of Jesus. Remove this work, and an angry God wars against rebellious man. Obscure it, and ceaseless terrors rack the troubled mind. But Jesus has paid a price which introduces perfect peace. Hence peace is a title which He condescends to bear--the Spirit testifies, "He is our peace." Ambassadors go forth, "preaching peace by Jesus Christ." God "makes peace by the blood of His cross."

That this price secures reconciliation is sufficiently apparent from the fact of its acceptance. Let then this peace flow like a river through the soul, and exert its due influence in the courts of conscience. Let all the family of faith be wise--let them not wrong their souls, and act as enemies to their chief comfort. Let them not take part with those who plot man's misery--let them not deny to the accepted price its legitimate province of speaking peace--let them not turn from their heaven-sent privileges. It is far worse than folly to sit trembling in the shade of fear, when God opens the banqueting-house of joy. It is affront to Him, that when He so forgives, His children should mistrust His goodness. It is dishonor to the blood of Jesus, that He should effectually obliterate transgression, and the pardoned one should mourn, and sigh, and weep, as though His blood had not flowed on the accursed tree, or flowed inglorious in worth. It is unthankfulness to close the door when He is willing to enter, waving the banner of peace-speaking blood. Let the accepted price be tightly grasped, and all its benefits be enjoyed.

When SATAN reminds you of sins, and uses all devices to terrify, let this price be shown. It blunts his every weapon and silences his every charge--he flees dismayed at the sight, and peace is undisturbed. When STRENGTH declines and sickness weakens, let support be sought in the accepted price. Languor smiles when the prospect shows 'heaven opened'--all must be calm and bright when assurance whispers that sins are washed out. When the foot of DEATH falls heavily beside the bed, it comes as a welcome friend to lead to Him who paid the price. When THE GREAT WHITE THRONE is set, "Christ died" is a plea which truly will prevail. Let it be presented, and heaven's portals will fly open, and admittance will be granted to mansions of eternal peace. When faith thus acts on the accepted price, the Lord of peace Himself will give peace always, at all times, by all means. Nothing can disturb the peace of him who fully knows that God is reconciled, and heaven purchased, and glory won!

Let men hear and believe. "He who is exalted to be a Prince and a Savior to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins," has sent forth His voice, yes, and that a mighty voice. To the loving penitent He proclaims, "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you--go in peace." Expatiate in the wide domain of peace, repose under the shadow of the peace-speaking cross, glory in the accepted price!

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« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2006, 01:29:47 PM »

VI. It is the ONLY price. There can be none other--a lesser payment could not avail; a greater could not be found. This conclusion is instantly apparent from the acknowledged case. It has been clearly seen that the debt is of infinite magnitude, and therefore demands an infinite equivalent. To wipe out such stains infinite sufficiency must be found. No price then can be sufficient which involves not Deity. The blood of Jesus has this inherent--and this full price has been fully paid.

Let it not be said--But sins are wrought on earth; and what earth has forged surely it may remove--debts here contracted may here be paid. It cannot be denied that earth is the scene of sin's birth and cursed course. But transgression acquires its dreadful character because it assails, and insults, and defies God. Atonement therefore must deal with God, before forgiveness can be granted. But nothing framed on earth can negotiate with heaven--earth cannot produce a heaven-reaching price. The only price must be divine in origin and essence.

The question may be asked--Can heaven present no other price but the God-man's blood? It is inhabited by a countless host of angelic beings, beauteous, holy, shining in robes of pure perfection. Is not compassion for man the glowing inhabitant of their breasts? Are they not willing to undergo all suffering to rescue the guilty from just wrath? Will not their society offer price of forgiveness?

Let the case be supposed of such willingness and such offer. It must be vain. Their collected multitude must fail to present adequate merit--they cannot rise in excellence above created beings--they cannot expand beyond the finite. If they could be permitted to assume our nature, and so to obtain blood to shed; still it would be created blood, and therefore its worth would be enclosed in small limits, and insufficient to pay infinite price. Thus neither heaven nor earth can give other price than Jesus.

The Father calls Him, Him only, to the work. He comes--He comes alone! "He treads the winepress alone--of the people there is none with Him." The conclusion is obvious, "Neither is there salvation in any other;" because no other hands hold the required price.

Such is the PRICE PAID for the forgiveness of sins. It is covenanted, foreshadowed, sufficient, accepted, peace-speaking, and there is none other!
What wondrous lessons are inscribed on this display of grace! It tells what it alone can fully show--the terrible character of sin. The wail from miseries on all sides, and in all forms, and from all ages, speaks in dreadful terms. The shrieks from a drowning world--from the furnace of the cities of the plain--from the anguish of pain-stricken multitudes--from agonies of conscience, proclaim in notes of woe the fearful fruit of sin. But the cry from the Blood of the Cross is louder and far more significant. What must sin be, if no speck of it can ever vanish except when sprinkled with this expiating blood of Jesus? Let this be pondered, and the monster will be abhorred which ruins earth and peoples hell. Let this be pondered, and surely the offered pardon will be prized. The need cannot be denied--the danger is evident.

Let then the blessing of blessings, full forgiveness, be sought where only it can be found. Let all other hopes and pleas which are none, and worse than none, be totally resisted. Other course leads headlong to perdition, and rivets more tightly sin's crushing burden. Plausible cheats too often mock the world--let them be shunned, or they will lead their victims to misery's cells. Thus flowing tears may tend to effect ruin. It is indeed true that without repentance none can live; but weeping eyes buy no remission. Where is the penitence which would not awaken shame? Where are the tears which need not tears to wash them? Where are the washings which need not to be washed anew?

Outward sins may be forsaken, and life reformed, and warm desires may burn for fellowship with God. But careful walk cannot recall the past. Doubtless "without holiness no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14); but the strictest service is but the bounden duty of each day. Obedience, even if perfect, has no excess of merit to overbalance previous faults.

Thus it must be granted that there is no pardoning efficacy, but in the one appointed remedy. This price is a stream from heaven flowing by each side--all who plunge therein join the blessed company, "whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sin is covered." They are the accepted of Him "in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."

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« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2006, 01:33:43 PM »

The COMPLETENESS of Forgiveness  (part 1)

"Who forgives all your iniquities."--Psalm 103:3

Forgiveness of sins has been reviewed in relation to its NEED, its SOURCE, and its PROCURING CAUSE. Attention now rests on its COMPLETENESS. At the outset let it be stated, that here it eludes full grasp and exhausts description. It presents itself as a boundless ocean without shore--as a depth unfathomable by human line--as a sky without horizon--as an expanse ever widening as steps advance. He who has fled for refuge to a Savior's wounds, looks out from his high watch-tower, and limitless forgiveness spreads before him. He who washes in the fountain opened in the Redeemer's side, retains not the shadow of speck. His career, once so black, now vies with the whitest snow in purity. The rapturous song is on his lips, "Who forgives all my iniquities."

It is a charming exercise to traverse the path which leads to this conclusion.

The completeness of the forgiving act is apparent from the essence and character of Him who forgives. This grace proceeds alone from God. All His acts are steeped in heavenly infinity. When then He forgives, He forgives like a God--fully, without measure, without restraining boundary. When forgiveness smiles from heaven, it smiles forever and never darkens into avenging frown.

The procuring price, also, proclaims complete forgiveness. Payments demand equivalent remission but this payment is infinitely worthy; therefore there can be no bounds to the recompense obtained. It must be entire--perfect.

Let it be granted that sins overtop the heights of heaven; forgiveness soars unspeakably above their summit. Let sins exceed the sea's innumerable sands; forgiveness outnumbers the total mass.

Moreover, the payment is made to secure heaven for a multitude which no man can number. But heaven can receive no inhabitant stained with one speck of evil. If one dark spot remains, its shining portals refuse admission. Hence, if forgiveness be only partial, the gracious purpose of the Savior's death is frustrate--heaven could not receive a white-robed multitude. But the many mansions will be all filled. The corollary is sure--forgiveness is complete.

But in the believer's journey to his heavenly home many sad days darken. Trials in various forms assail him; languor, disease, weakness, and pain, bring him into the gloomy chambers of depression; the spirit faints; the pillars of strength totter; the mind is feeble to grasp inferential proofs; mental vision will scarcely read aright the largest letters of argumentative conclusion. Our wily adversary is skilled at these seasons to infuse a train of fears and doubts.

Hence the Spirit in His tender love has provided abundant support to counteract. He presents strong consolation for the heirs of faith. He has erected secure fortresses into which they may flee and rejoice. These fortresses are the positive assurances of God's Word--that glorious testimony of His mind and will--that seal of His faithfulness--that record of His immutable decrees--that treasure-house of delights--that garden of most sweet refreshments. In frequent phase, in diversified forms, in copious images, the announcement re-echoes that the believer's forgiveness is forever complete. The glorious theme is, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." God forgives all their iniquities.

Minds are well garrisoned which have these precious declarations prominent in memory, and ever ready for relief. Let it then be a glad task to meditate on some sayings of our God, planted by the Spirit in the paradise of truth. Their purpose is eternal consolation. Their power keeps the heart from sinking amid billows of despondency. They strike the key-note of unending hallelujahs. They present a cup overflowing with true joys.

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« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2006, 01:57:06 PM »

I. Here the Scripture which introduces this section of the subject stands foremost. It is an assertion so simple, that none can misapprehend; so large, that it defies addition. David in rapture of devotion is ardent to enumerate His mercies. He chides his flagging soul--he strives to rouse his inner man. He exclaims, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all His benefits." When he proceeds to unfold the catalogue, what mercy outstrips others in claiming primary praise? What heavenly dealing takes the topmost place? It is forgiveness--forgiveness godlike and complete. Hear the announcement--"Who forgives all your iniquities."

Let believers learn the happy art of using this word expertly, intelligently, with undoubting faith. Satan will often strive to bring our sins to remembrance. They readily appear in frightful mass, in vast accumulation. They swarm in all periods of life--in childhood's dawn--in blooming youth--in the prime of manhood--when the shades of declining age cast gloom. Offences crowd to light, openly committed or allowed in secret--acted in every condition and relationship of life--at home, in the family, abroad, in solitude, in the busy haunts of men, in the sanctuary, in the closet, in prayer uttered or neglected, in ignorance, in clear intelligence, when conscience slumbered, and when its voice gave warning, amid misgiving and in daring audacity, in defiance of convictions, in disregard of resolves and vows! Who can count the hideous spectres which are ready to revive and terrify the conscience? But when all sins in all their aggravations threaten, the multitudinous array may be confronted with this relieving word--"Who forgives all your iniquities."

Let the emphatic monosyllable "all" be prized. It is not said some, or few, or many--but "all." God so completely pardons that not one iniquity remains unpardoned. Thus forgiveness gloriously shines in splendor of completeness. Let believers beseech the Spirit so to increase their faith that they may clearly see and clasp to the heart this blessed article of salvation.

Sometimes the idea occurs that Bible-statements fail in general and universal design--that they are the peculiar property of the special speaker. Thus the doubt may arise whether the word of David extends beyond his own persuasion. Paul appears to dissipate misapprehension; he gives this comfort to the Church--"You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." (Col. 2:13.)

Thus the assertion of David is adopted by Paul--what the patriarch states the Apostle re-echoes. Let all believers admit the wide assurance, and place the foot of faith on all their sins obliterated by the Redeemer's work. Let them embody among their chief joys the truth so strikingly repeated, and shout--David's word and Paul's repetition are alike from heaven--"Who forgives all your iniquities." He has "forgiven you all trespasses."

Paul in this Scripture not only proclaims the completeness of forgiveness--he enforces it by illustration. He thus continues--"He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross." (Col. 2:14.)

First, the guilt is significantly portrayed--there is the record in antagonistic force. It is against to us as a fearful adversary. This record is the law's inexorable decree. But vain is this opposition--it is blotted out, canceled, thoroughly expunged, completely wiped away. Let the condemning record of ordinances be searched for--it cannot be seen--it is blotted out. To the believer, then, the law is no more an opponent fierce in threats--it is decked with smiles, as a calm and sweet rule of life.

The next announcement adds, "He took it and destroyed it." He has so removed it that it can no more obstruct the road to heaven. The gracious mode of removal is also expressed. Consolations are multiplied.

Christ took it and destroyed it, "having nailed it to His cross." That which is nailed to the cross cannot but expire. When Christ is thus nailed the condemnatory power of the law is also transfixed. By the flowing blood the penalties are completely paid--therefore the claim against us is completely abrogated, annulled, extinguished, death-stricken, crucified. In Christ uplifted on the accursed tree judicial wrath receives extinction. Let these expressive terms be duly weighed. They witness that forgiveness is complete--they swell the note, "Who forgives all your iniquities."

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« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2006, 02:00:24 PM »

II. The pregnant meaning of the term, "blot out," demands still further thought. The Holy Spirit again and again selects it to express COMPLETE ERASURE. Isaiah gives confirming witness--he sweetly sings, "Pay attention, O Israel, for you are my servant. I, the Lord, made you, and I will not forget to help you. I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free." (Isaiah 44:21, 22.)

Here is the same expression heard from Paul's lips. The interpretation changes only to enlarge and deepen the assurance of complete forgiveness. In the mind of the Apostle sins appear as a debt registered in a book of reckoning; in the mind of the Prophet they are represented as thick clouds hanging in black folds in the skies. In each case they are blotted out. Let the Prophet's image be considered. Suppose the skies to be overcast; let the canopy above be as the curtain of night; then let the sun dart forth its piercing rays--where now is the obscuring mass? It is dissipated--dispersed--scattered--obliterated. Evanescence has absorbed it--no trace is left--the vault above is fair in brightness. In like manner, when the hand of grace exhibits the blood of Christ, the darkness disappears--appalling shade is chased away--the believer realizes complete forgiveness, and rightfully adopts the strain, "Who forgives all your iniquities."

The Holy Spirit deepening this truth adds line to line, and multiplies reduplication. In the catalogue of prophecies the same image had before occurred--"I even I, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and will not remember your sins." (Isaiah 43:25.) The fact of complete extinction is thus again announced, and free grace shines brightly as the originating cause. Let faith be acted on the glorious word, and let joy have free course.

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PS 91:2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust
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« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2006, 02:01:41 PM »

III. David presents another image worthy to be cherished. A grand note sounds in verse 12 of this Psalm--"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." The figure pictures immeasurable distance--it represents space too vast for step to traverse or for eye to scan. Let a traveler move from the west striving to reach the east--the distance mocks the effort; as advance is made, the horizon continues as quickly to recede. In this picture is seen the infinite removal of transgressions. Legal vengeance never again can overtake offence--it disappears in undiscoverable regions. This blessing is the achievement of redeeming blood. It places impassable expanse between the offender and avenging pursuit--it completely, entirely, everlastingly liberates, relieves, rescues. They who believe the record may sing aloud, "Who forgives all your iniquities."

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« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2006, 02:05:36 PM »

IV. Other images display the truth. Hezekiah in the joy of pardon pours forth his soul in praise. His words are worthy to be often and deeply pondered. Let his ecstatic utterance be heard--"You have in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption--for You have cast all my sins behind Your back." (Isaiah 38:17.) Expressive is this picture. It is obvious, that objects "behind the back" cannot be before the face. The eye no longer can discern them--they are as completely hidden as if their existence had ceased. Thus our gracious God no longer fixes an avenging look on sins forgiven. Omniscience is His attribute; but omniscience fails to view them. Let this glad assurance be among the believer's treasures. Let him renew the strain, "You have cast all my sins behind Your back." "He forgives all my iniquities."


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« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2006, 02:06:59 PM »

V. The mind of the Spirit which pervades Scripture again appears in Jeremiah's proclamation--"In those days and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare." (Jer. 50:20.)

It is here supposed that search for sin is made but the investigation fails. Sin is declared, in reference to wrath against God's people, to be a nonentity. They who prosecute the scrutiny are constrained to confess they "cannot be found." Let this grand comfort be fully embraced. Let the song be prolonged, "He forgives all your iniquities."

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