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Sometimes we fail to see our need for items that would really benefit us if we had them. Or we may lose our appreciation for an item when we have it.
The purpose of this study is to help us appreciate more fully a gift that all of us need but sometimes fail to appreciate. This gift is the forgiveness of sins. To help us appreciate forgiveness, let us consider the consequences of sin. Many people unnecessarily face guilt, fear, alienation, and eternal punishement. Please study with us how these problems can be solved by forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ according to the gospel, resulting in joy, hope, salvation, and eternal life.
Genesis 2:17; 3:8 - Adam and Eve's sin separated them from God. They could no longer bear to be in His presence, but sought to avoid Him.
Isaiah 59:1,2 - Our sins and iniquities separate us from God, so He will not hear us.
Ephesians 2:12 - People in sin (v1-3) are separated from Christ and without God in the world.
Romans 5:6-10 - Though sin deserves punishment, God loves us so much He sent His Son to bear our punishment so we could be saved.
Ephesians 2:13,17-19 - Though we were separated and far from God, we can be made nigh by the blood of Christ and have access to the Father.
Colossians 1:21-23 - Our evil works make us enemies alienated from God, but through Jesus' death we can be reconciled (made friends again).
Surely the serious consequences of sin should lead us to see our need for forgiveness. Having obtained forgiveness, we should continue to live faithfully so we can continue in God's fellowship.
Husbands and wives may be alienated by mistreatment, adultery, or alcoholism. There may be bitterness, quarreling, and even divorce.
Parents and children may have conflict. Parents may be unloving, abusive, stubborn, or selfish. Or like the prodigal son, children may rebel or become involved in immoral conduct (Luke 15:11-13).
Children in a family may be alienated because of jealousy, selfishness, deceit, or hatred.
Alienation may also occur in the church or between friends. There may be religious error, lying, slander, jealousy, pride, racial prejudice, stubbornness, etc. (James 3:14-18; Gal. 2:11-14; Rom. 16:17).
Sin can cause all these tragedies between people who should love one another.
In these cases, we must seek to obtain forgiveness, not just from God, but also from the people we offended. And those who have been wronged, must be willing to forgive.
Luke 15:18,21 - The prodigal son confessed he had sinned both against heaven and his father.
Matthew 5:23,24 - We must seek reconciliation with those we have wronged.
Luke 17:3,4 - People who sin against others should express repentance. If they do, others must willingly forgive them. [Matthew 6:12,14,15]
Have you made your life right with those you have wronged? When people repent, do you forgive like you want God to forgive you?
Sin alienates us, not only from God and from our fellow-man, but also from ourselves.
Job 42:6 - Job abhorred himself for his sin. When we fully face the consequences of our deeds, we think, "How could I do such a thing?"
Matthew 26:33-35,69-75 - Peter affirmed he would die rather than deny Jesus. Yet before the night was over, he denied Jesus three times with cursing and swearing! Such conduct gives one a sense of utter failure.
Sin makes people miserable.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 - Paul had been "the chief of sinners," because he opposed Christ and persecuted Christians. Yet he was forgiven and became one of Jesus' most effective servants.
The apostle Peter, when he had repented of denying Jesus, preached the first gospel sermons both to Jews and to Gentiles (Acts 2 & 10). Surely his disappointment in his sins was overcome by forgiveness and faithful service to Christ.
Matthew 20:25-28 - God does not view us as great because we have authority, fame, power, pleasure, or possessions. Rather we are great because we faithfully serve God and our fellow-man.
Like a child who breaks a precious possession, we may ruin our lives by sin. Yet God can give us a new beginning - "newness of life" (Rom. 6:4).
Do you want this blessing? If you once had it, are you continuing to serve God faithfully?
Genesis 3:10 - Adam hid himself from God because he was afraid. He felt guilty and ashamed.
Psalms 38:3-8 - When David committed adultery and murder, he groaned because his burden of sin was too heavy to bear (v4,8).
Matthew 27:3-5 - Judas' guilt drove him to suicide. Others turn to drink, drugs, or complete moral abandon to escape the reality of their guilt.
Sin wounds our consciences and our pride. Many people live year after year with this burden of guilt, not knowing what to do to make it right or not willing to do what they know is needed.
Psalms 51:1-3,7-10 - David pled for his sins to be blotted out (v1,2,9), so he might be white as snow (v7) with a clean heart and right spirit (v10).
Acts 2:36-38 - The people who crucified Jesus were convicted by the gospel. Peter said they could have remission of their sins if they would repent and be baptized.
The burden of guilt can be replaced with a beautiful sense of innocence through Jesus' blood. "Come unto me, all you who are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
Do you want this blessing? If you have received it, do you still act as if you appreciate it?
Genesis 3:7-10 - Adam was afraid and hid from God, because he knew God would punish him for his sin. Yet hiding from God was no solution.
Sinners fear death because after it comes judgment and eternal punishment if we are not forgiven (Heb. 9:27; 2 Thess. 1:8,9; Rev. 20:10-15).
Psalm 38:6 - Sin also makes us sad. "I go mourning all day long."
Matthew 26:75 - Peter wept bitterly after he denied Jesus.
Ephesians 2:12 - People in sin are without hope (1 Thess 4:13). They may wish for eternal life, but the destiny of unforgiven sinners is eternal punishment instead. No one hopes for that! So they are "without hope" (Job 8:13).
People who know they are guilty of sin often spend sleepless hours worrying about their eternal destiny. Is this your case?
Psalms 51:8,12 - Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. When sins are forgiven, there is no more reason for fear and sadness. No wonder the gospel accounts of conversion are such joyful occasions (Acts 16:31-34; 8:39; Luke 15:7,10,22-24,32).
Romans 8:24 - In hope were we saved.
Romans 5:1,2 - Being justified by faith, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. [Phil. 4:4,7]
1 Peter 1:3-5 - Being born again, we have the living hope of an undefiled and incorruptible inheritance reserved in heaven for us.
Do you have this hope? Do you appreciate it?
Matthew 25:41 - The wicked will go to eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
2 Thessalonians 1:8,9 - This is everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:41,46). This destiny awaits many people. Yet it is so needless, because there is a solution to the problem.
Romans 6:23 - The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Titus 3:7 - To be heirs of the hope of eternal life, we must be justified by God's grace.
Sin may cause great problems in this life, yet the problems it causes after this life are far greater. Surely we need to be forgiven and escape these consequences. Have you done so?
Sin puts an impassable barrier between us and the spiritual blessings God offers. We cannot go over that barrier or around, under, or through it. The only way to receive God's blessings is for that barrier of sin to be destroyed, and the only power in existence to destroy it is the blood of Jesus.
By His mercy, God offers forgiveness to all men (1 Tim. 2:4,6; Titus 2:11; John 3:16; Mark 16:15,16). To receive it, we must meet God's conditions. The choice is up to each of us.
What are the conditions? We must hear and believe the gospel, repent of sin, confess Christ, and be baptized for forgiveness (Romans 1:16; 10:17,9,10; Luke 24:47; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 17:30,31; 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
We must then continue to live a faithful life (Titus 2:11-14; James 1:21-25; Romans chap. 6). If we fall away, we can again be forgiven, if we will truly repent and pray (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).
Do you want to learn more about God's forgiveness?
(C) Copyright 1998, David E. Pratte; www.gospelway.com
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