The Blessing of Forgiveness – 7/2/17

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“The Blessing of Forgiveness”    07/02/17

The movie Love Story popularized the saying, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.  Jennifer says this to Oliver when he apologizes for losing his temper, and later Oliver says it to his father.  Anyone who has been in a serious relationship, however, knows that there are times when saying you are sorry is important to the health of that relationship.  Only by sincerely saying that you are sorry can you experience the blessing of forgiveness.

There have been times when I’ve gotten impatient with Laurie, when I’ve snapped or gotten upset.  If I had not apologized for that it could have left a wound that might have lessened our relationship.

The same is true of our relationship with God.  David is an example of someone who sinned, big time, and experienced the blessing of forgiveness, as he wrote about in our reading for today.

Psalm 32:1–6 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.Selah Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin.Selah Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.

This psalm is often seen as reflecting David’s experience after his sin with Bathsheba and his arranging to have her husband Uriah killed.  At that time David refused for a year to acknowledge his sin.  Psalm 51 is his prayer of confession, and this psalm tells of his experience and what he learned of being forgiven.

This is an example for us because we all find ourselves in the same boat.  We all sin.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

In fact, Scripture says that anyone who claims to not have sinned, who thinks they don’t need God’s forgiveness, is deceiving themselves.

1 John 1:8  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

What is forgiveness, why do we need it, how do we get it, what is the basis for it, and what is the blessing from it.

What is forgiveness

Taking away sin and its consequences.

Day of Atonement – the scapegoat released into the wilderness, represents the sin being removed from the people

Jesus’ parable – debt being cancelled

Why is it necessary

The problem

Transgressions – disobedience, rebellion against the divine will

Sin – missing the mark, faulty action, misconduct

Iniquity – evil

The consequences

Bones wasted away

Groaning all day long

God’s hand heavy upon him

Proverbs 3:12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Strength was sapped

In these words we see how David was affected by his unconfessed sin.  He was weighed down by a guilty conscience and aware of God’s displeasure.  There were also physical

Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Unforgiven sin breaks the relationship

Unforgiven sin affects us

How does one get it

The cure

Acknowledged his sin

Did not cover it up

Confess

1 John 1:9-10  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

In order for us to bring our sin to God we must be certain of His love and mercy.

The basis of

God’s mercy and grace

God’s promise

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

The sacrifice of Christ

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

The blessing

Forgiveness – a burden lifted and carried away – guilt

Relief from a weight being taken off your shoulders

Sins covered – joy of knowing that God no longer looks on our sin.

Does not count against – Consider innocent

We receive Christ’s righteousness

Paul quotes Psa. 32:1-2 in Rom. 4:7-8

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

Forgiveness leads to happiness because we receive God’s mercy and our relationship with God has been restored

David’s recommendation

Pray while He may be found

Isaiah 55:6–7 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Gift cards often come with expiration dates. Sometimes I will stuff one in my wallet and forget about it. A gift card can be worth $100 one day, and then the next day you might as well throw it in the garbage because it has expired. You have missed the opportunity to spend it!

God’s gift of forgiveness is like a gift card that is more valuable than anything we can imagine. He paid for it with his Son’s life. God is holding that priceless gift card out to us, waiting for us to take it. If we don’t accept it and use it, however, it’s of no value to us.

A gift card is only plastic unless it is redeemed. Don’t wait to claim God’s gift before it’s too late.