FORGIVE US OUR SINS!

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True Bible Teaching - About You and God and Your Hope of Salvation

FORGIVE US OUR SINS!

FORGIVE US OUR SINS!

Millions repeat “The Lord’s Prayer” every day, but I wonder how many mean it and believe it?The Lord's Prayer "forgive us our sins"

For a start it requires us to accept that we are sinners in need of forgiveness, an idea that doesn’t come naturally. So in this article, we’re going to look at four things:

What is sin?

What are its consequences?

What did Jesus do to find a remedy?

What does that mean for us?

Nowadays all kinds of sexual immorality, cheating, blaspheming, family and social disruption, stealing, greed, fighting are taken for granted.

In the books we read and the TV programmes and films we watch we are condoning such behavior if we don’t see it as sin. We tend to explain such conduct as social problems and we certainly don’t talk of them as sin!

What is Sin?

We are all sinners, because the Bible says so – “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23). And a little later in that letter the apostle explains how sin came about and, in doing so, he confirms that we are all sinners:

“Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

The “one man” is Adam who deliberately broke God’s law, while Eve had done so, without realising what she was doing, being deceived (1 Timothy 2:14). Their experience sums us up too. For we can be deliberate sinners, wilfully breaking God’s law, or we can sin through sheer inability, being unable to meet the high standard God expects of us. So, we ARE all sinners, whether we like it or not, when assessed by God’s high standards, but what does that mean?

Sin and its Consequences

Well, of course, the immediate consequences are mainly social:

❖ disruption in society due to the break-up of family life when adultery or unfaithfulness occurs;

❖ diseases caused by sexual promiscuity, or over-indulgence in harmful substances, such as drink or drugs;

❖ the hatred caused by acts of revenge;

❖ personal loss when stealing prompted by covetousness and greed are uncontrolled.

But the ultimate personal consequence for each one of us, whether we commit specific criminal or anti-social acts, or if it’s just “falling short” of God’s standards, is spelled out for us in the Bible – “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This is a reference right back to the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and this could easily lead to despair – except that God has made provision to deal with all kinds of sin, ours included.

What Did Jesus Do?

God in His grace and generosity is unstinting in His offer to save us from ourselves! He caused His only begotten Son to be born so that we might be saved, and Jesus dedicated his life to achieve that great aim – the salvation of mankind. Here’s how the apostle Paul describes what Jesus did:

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6–8).

What a loving God and what a magnanimous Lord Jesus Christ! The apostle continues his explanation with these words:

Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Romans 5:9–10).

Notice how we are described as “sinners” – we are God’s “enemies” because we are disobedient and fall short of His demanding standards; but we are enemies who God loves and wants to befriend. So He has taken action to achieve two things:

➊ We are reconciled (changed from enemies into friends) through the death of Jesus, and

➋ We are saved through his life.

Then comes an explanation of how the work of Jesus has reversed the tragedy that Adam brought about.

The next passage in Romans 5 is not easy to summarise but, as I understand it, it’s saying something like this:

❖ Death came on us all because of the disobedience of Adam. A bit like an inherited disease, we have all inherited the tendency to sin, and its consequence which is death, because we are all descended from the tainted man, Adam.

❖ God’s grace not only matches mankind’s need, but is superabundant in that it “overflows”.

God’s gift of salvation is readily and freely available to everyone who will accept it! (Romans 5:15–21).

Jesus and Us

Notice how the apostle’s explanation of the saving work of God in Christ opens up a gulf between the Lord and ourselves. We are all sinners and deserve to die. Jesus never once sinned. He was altogether righteous and totally obedient to God’s will – he never deliberately transgressed against God or His commandments, nor did he fall short of matching God’s high standards.

Because of his wonderful obedience in laying down his life as a sacrifice for sin, Jesus died and was raised again from death, as the apostle Peter explained:

“[Jesus], being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it” (Acts 2:23–24).

Why was it impossible? Because, as we have seen already, “the wages of sin is death”, and Jesus had done nothing to earn the wages of sin. He did not deserve to remain in the grave – he was, and is, the conqueror of sin and death, the vanquisher of the grave!

All that seems fair enough for Jesus, but how does it help us? As sinners we deserve to die and stay forever in the grave, because we’ve earned the wages of sin, which is death!

He Died for Us

Whilst Romans chapter 5 indicates how generous God is in making provision for our salvation, the next chapter is all about what we can do to take advantage of God’s free gift of salvation and His wonderful offer of everlasting life. The heading in my NIV Bible is “Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ” – that’s the two-part aspect that was hinted at in Romans Chapter 5 when the apostle said: “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (5:10).

Chapter 6 is all about our response for baptism is the way in which we associate ourselves with God’s saving work in Jesus Christ:

“Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3–4).

True Christian baptism – the immersion of a believing adult as a powerful re-enactment of Jesus’ death and resurrection – is what makes the connection and bridges the gap with Jesus’ righteous life, death and resurrection, and our otherwise hopeless state as convicted sinners.

We don’t deserve immortal life; but if we accept God’s provision for us by being baptized, we are enacting our own symbolic death and resurrection – copying, in symbol, what Jesus went through. We die in a figure and put our “old man, Adam” to death in the watery grave.

We rise out of the water again to live a new life – in fact, as well as we can, the life of Jesus himself. Thus our sins and our past life are washed away and, in baptism, we express our firm belief that, just as we are now raised out of the water, we will be raised out of the literal grave of death, when Jesus returns.

Summary

❖ We have to properly understand what sin is, how stark it is in God’s sight, and how we have to get out of its entanglement;

❖ We have to acknowledge, to ourselves and to God, that we are indeed sinners in need of God’s love, grace and salvation;

❖ We have to ally ourselves to Jesus and his perfect sacrifice, and so acquire for ourselves the benefit of his death and resurrection, receiving forgiveness for our sins and shortcomings;

❖ The merciful way God has provided this FOR US through the beautiful and meaningful symbol of the Lord’s own death and resurrection, so we can have a confident hope that one day God will raise us up from the grave to everlasting life in His Kingdom.

“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

By Hamilton Wilson

Glad Tidings Magazine of the Kingdom of God on Earth