The word for this week is: Forgiveness.
The thought for this week is: God does not simply forgive us without the necessity of the cross.
Most people have a problem with a Christians’ insistence that the cross of Christ is the only ground on which God forgives sins. Why is it that God does not simply forgive us without the necessity of the cross? After all, no one else has to die for us to forgive others. Most people in our post-modern world believe that this is an old-fashioned view of sin that should have been discarded long ago. This is probably due to the fact that they have not carefully considered the seriousness of sin or the holiness of God.
When considering sin, do you think it is a concept that is over or under emphasized? Or, is there a healthy approach that can be made toward sin? In Romans 1:18 through 3:20, Paul demonstrates the universality of sin. He appears to divide humanity into three categories as he accuses each one of them. First is the Gentile society (1:18-32), next are the critical moralizers, both Gentile and Jew (2:1-16) and finally there are the educated and highly self-confident Jews (2:17-3:8). His condemnation does not stop there however as he concludes by accusing the entire human race (3:9-20). Focus by re-reading Romans 2:1-11. This passage allows us to see self-righteousness for what it is and we see ourselves revealed. Notice the prominence of God’s wrath and judgment as Paul demonstrates that no one is immune from God’s judgment.
Consider for a moment your own experience of coming to faith in Christ. Recall how God’s kindness led you to repentance. Now consider God’s holiness. Why do you think his holiness is incompatible with human rebellion and sin? In view of these eleven verses, how would you size up your condition, including your hope for the future? In these few verses, it is easy to conclude that it is only through the cross of Christ that we are reconciled to God and able to discover the nature of God’s forgiveness
This week as you reflect on the cross and the problem of forgiveness, memorize and pray through the following: “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:26-27)
Prayer: Our Father in Heaven, we thank you for your holiness and love. We know that despite our sinful nature, you desire to have a relationship with us. We thank you for providing a way for us to be forgiven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By Rory Barneche