Forgiveness is Gospel
I would say that forgiveness is the primary point of the gospel. Forgiveness is gospel. It is the good news of Jesus Christ over and for and through our lives.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14 ESV
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103:10 ESV
“He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins — and not only our sins but the sins of all the whole world.” 1 John 2:2 NLT
Forgiveness flows from the heart of God. It has always been there for both you and I and the entire world. Forgiveness is not for sale. You cannot buy it. You cannot earn it. Forgiveness is a free gift of God to the world, to all humanity.
It takes humility to stand in this forgiveness. It is vast and deep. In response to God’s forgiveness we must put down our striving to make ourselves right with God. This is sin. Because, forgiveness is an act of God unto us and it is Jesus as Salvation, that makes us right with God.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Forgiveness is the way and manner of God. Long before we even knew we needed it. Jesus Christ is our salvation. The cross is evidence of God’s great love poured out on our behalf.
In John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Then, in John 3:17 we read, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
In the incarnation of Jesus Christ (his life, death, and resurrection) God committed to co-suffering with us. God brings no condemnation. God is good news. To all of us! This Good News is better than we have even imagined.
Consider the story of the adulterous woman found in John 8:1-11. In this story we see:
- The religious leaders were eager to condemn her. And eager to kill her even, for her sin.
- But Jesus shows us God’s way, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
This, is the gospel. Sweet and simple.
Have your eyes and understanding been opened to the forgiveness of God, freely given you?
- Or, are you still trying to earn your way to God?
- Are you still trying to make yourself right with God?
- Are you believing that forgiveness is something given you if you do good?
Then, you have missed the message and life of Jesus Christ.
“Rather I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down… so I died to the law — I stopped trying to meet all its requirements — so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthy body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:18-20
- Have you missed this great gift to the world?
- Are you selling the gospel, selling forgiveness in any way?
Then you have missed the message and life of Jesus Christ. We are called to agree with the Lord. You see, in this verse in Revelation, that it is the Spirit AND the Bride who say,
“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” Revelation 22:17
Forgiveness is freely given. Forgiveness is not a transaction. There is nothing you can do to earn it. You cannot buy it. Forgiveness is not for sale. The Gospel is not for purchase. It is a gift. Give it freely.
Forgiveness Works Across Time
Of course, it takes humility and courage to stand in forgiveness. We must put down our striving to make ourselves right with God. We must stop demanding that others make themselves right with God. Forgiveness is an act of God unto us and makes us right with God, before we even knew we needed such a thing. The writer of Psalms, long before Jesus’ coming, knew of the Lord’s forgiveness:
“But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” Psalm 130:4 ESV
And Daniel proclaimed:
“To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him” Daniel 9:9 ESV
The incarnation of Jesus Christ (life, death, and resurrection) is not bound by time. Salvation is a continuous present tense occurrence. We do not have to work for our forgiveness. We cannot work for our forgiveness. Forgiveness is a done deal, accomplished some 2000 years ago on a cross.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 ESV
Forgiveness is present regardless of our response. It’s about the Lord.
“For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his fight of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. … Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. “ Romans 5:15b & 18
Let’s say this again, “Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.”
I don’t know about you. But I need to really get this. God’s love reaches to all of us. *footnote at the bottom of the page
Forgiveness is a Way of Life
Too often though, as humans we have tried to organize and manage this thing of God that is forgiveness and that is salvation, and what is the good news of Christ.
Our organized religion would take this free gift of God and pander it to people, like sellers on a street bartering sweet buns, or tomatoes, or rice. We sometimes play games of who deserves it or who doesn’t. We make divisions in our thinking about whom this is for and whom it is not for.
We tell people they have to perform some sort of ritual prayer or repentant process in order to be forgiven. And while prayer and repentance are both gifts to us and in us, they are not necessary for forgiveness to happen. Forgiveness originates in the heart of God.
- We are invited into the great mercy and grace of God for each other and for this earth and world.
- It is this great mercy and grace and remittance of sins that we are all healed.
- It’s an invitation to the remittance of sins and to the goodness of God poured out upon the world.
For God is love (1 John 4:7-21) and love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). The Bible speaks much of forgiveness. It is the entire weave of the good news. And our response matters.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
Like all things in the Kingdom of Heaven, forgiveness comes alive in us as it runs through our lives. As it flows through us to others it becomes even more alive within us.
Imagine even. “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be eating as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:35-36
We breath this in our everyday interactions with a hurting world. We declare,
“God loves you with an everlasting love. Jesus Christ died on a cross in co-suffering love to take on your sin and to overcome death. I simply tell you about this today. Become alive in Christ. The work has been accomplished. There is nothing you need add to it. Christ is all-sufficient unto your healing and wholeness from the inside out. The very foundation of your life is better than you have even imagined. God loves you more than you will ever know. Be alive in Christ.”
This is the good news of the gospel. It is our privilege to now tell folks about this.
God has forgiven you. This has always been God’s heart for you. Jesus lived this when he was on earth for you and I. We are forgiven in God even before we know it.
As Jesus said to the adulterous woman, “I do not condemn you. Now, go and sin no more.”
“Every person who has ever been conceived was included in the death, burial, resurrection and ascension in Jesus. When Jesus was lifted up, God ‘dragged’ all human beings to Himself (John 12:32) and that Jesus is the Savior of all humankind, (I Tim 4:10). Further, every single human being is in Christ and Christ is in them, and Christ is in the Father (John 14:20). When Christ died—the Creator in whom the cosmos was created—we all died. When Christ rose, we rose (II Cor. 5).
The context of salvation involves three dimensions. First, prior to the foundation of the world we were all included. Saved in eternity (II Tim 1:9). Second, in the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus we were all included (II Cor 5:19). Third, within the context of our own experience a present tense on-going active participation to work out what God has worked in (Phil 2:12-13). Although we didn’t do anything in the accomplishment of our salvation (except to kill Jesus), our participation in the working out of this salvation is essential. Our ongoing choices matter.”
Quote by Paul Young, as referenced in this article by Brad Jersak. https://www.ptm.org/are-you-saved