Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Once For All

For some of us, the notion of complete and total forgiveness seems an unattainable goal.  We like the idea of forgiveness but somewhere inside us we think that we have sinned too much or we are not good enough for God to forgive us and welcome us into His presence.  We read about His mercy, His love and His grace and immediately the enemy is there telling us that promise is not for us.  What we did was too dirty, too shameful and God cannot be expected to forgive such guilt.

In the Old Testament there was a system put in place by God so that His people could remain pure enough to be in communion with Him (for His dwelt in the tabernacle in their midst).  By this system many things could cause one to become unclean and unfit to be in God's presence.  One thing that would make one unclean was bodily discharge.  Ladies, that meant that while you were having your monthly visitor, you were unclean and could not come into the presence of the Holy One.  Also, anyone who touched you would be unclean for the rest of that day and had to bathe themselves before they would be made clean again (see Leviticus 15:19-30).  

What does any of this have to do with the forgiveness of sin?  Glad you asked!  Sin separates us from God just as uncleanness separated His people from Him.  Of course, their sin separated them as well and within the sacrificial system God provided ways to be cleansed from that as well.  But I want us to look at what happens when uncleanness meets Jesus.

So go with me to Mark chapter 5 starting in verse 24b:
      A large crowd followed and pressed around Him.  And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed."  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
     At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him.  He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
     "You see the people crowding against You," his disciples answered, "and yet You can ask, 'Who touched me?'"
     But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.  Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth.  He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."   Mark 5:24-34

We see here that the woman with the issue of blood plainly falls in the category of unclean.  She had been living separated from God, unclean for twelve yearsThen comes Jesus!

Remember, according to the Law, if a man touched a woman while she was bleeding he was made unclean. 

When the woman touches Jesus, what happens?  Does He become unclean?  NO!  But why not?

It is because Jesus has power over the Law.  The Law pronounced her to be unclean, separated from God.  Jesus made her complete, healed her and made her whole again!

Our sin separates us from God just as this woman's issue made her unclean and unable to come into His presence.  Jesus' authority overruled the Law so that He could make her clean.

God says plainly that we all have sinned and that the penalty for sin is death.  However, the blood of Jesus has delivered us from that sentence!

Hebrews 9:13-14 puts it this way, "The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"

If Jesus has power of the Law, He has power over sin, He has power over death (proved by His resurrection), who are we to say that He does not have power over our sin?  He has power of ALL sin!  Forever.  Always.  His blood covers that sin, blots it out, makes us white as snow.

Let this encourage you today if you think that your sin is too great for God to forgive.  I will leave you with one final verse that should silence the enemy that loves to speak in lies:

But God demonstrated His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

God doesn't love us for what He can make us, He doesn't love us for the way we will be after He cleans us up...He loves us just the way we were.  Sin and all.  Trust Him with your sin, with your past, with your guilt and shame and let Him set you free from condemnation today.  Let us live in the light of His glory and grace and let us "...serve the living God!"

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