How and Why God Forgives in the Big Picture (60 min)

Title: How and Why God Forgives in the Big Picture (60 min)
Message Description:

Why would God ever forgive you for your sin? How can God forgive anyone for their sins? If SIN is so serious that one act of it from Adam condemned mankind. If SIN is so serious that only God could fix its resultant condition through his own blood, as the Bible teaches. If punishable sins prevent mankind’s peace with God, then sinning must be truly heinous in God’s sight. We stumble backwards toward hell in the denial of this reality unless we stumble into the Cross. Why would God ever redeem a sinner? How could he? How could God himself, or the other offended parties in sin ever say an amen to grace? In the end, how is he just to forgive all the sinners who will ever be redeemed? Among even those who did the very worst of man’s sins, some will be pardoned?! How is that okay?! Sin is obviously serious. Seeing the depth of the problem might help us see the height of its solution…if there even is one. How can God ever forgive sin and not himself be unjust for doing so? How can man be right with God?!

I want to talk today about the big picture of God’s mercy to man. I want to try to consider it in a big picture way. Truly, how can he forgive men for their sin and not be unjust for it?! He can’t just toss out sin. For many that’s a given. We may be inclined to imagine he could do so for “the little sins” but how about “big sin” then? Who reading this thinks that God should forgive someone for child rape…just cuz he’s merciful, or because the perpetrator asks him to, or because they work really hard afterward to do good? Who guilty can ever balance the scales of perfect justice and how? No one who sees their sin in God’s light thinks that they can. Galatians 3:24. My problem is that I want to call God good for not arbitrarily pardoning “big sins” and petty for punishing my “little” sins. Some sins are far worse than others, but all sin is evil. If God is going to forgive sin, then the reason for him doing so must be within himself. It can’t be within me. I’m the problem after all. There is no standard or ideal higher than God’s own righteousness. There is no greater cause for which God’s mercy toward me becomes warrantable except in the Person of Jesus Christ. Without Jesus in the picture, grace makes no sense to me. Sin is man’s problem with God; its solution is the Godman. This is ultimately why the world is what it is. God set the condition for grace within himself. Where else could it be holy? Whatever other reasons God surely has to forgive us, I simply can’t ultimately explain grace outside of God himself.

How does Jesus then, as he claims to—by his life, Cross and Resurrection—save anyone who’s under the proper penalty of sin? If sin is such a problem, then how God can ever dare pardon the guilty is a very serious matter to consider. Pardon can be no less arbitrary than judgment. These questions aren’t answered with emotion or in blindness in Scripture. Love is not blind. Romans 5:8. God can do whatever he wants, but he chose the way the Bible reveals. God is good, reader. Only good. God cannot therefore just forget sin. There must be a greater cause I say for him to forgive! Some greater cause that even reconciles perpetrators and victims. Enter penal substitutionary atonement. It’s an unpopular idea among criminals, but the law is in fact as good as the God who enforces it. And as good as the God who saves men from themselves. All world religions that consider the general state of man as negative in sin have a system to sell to help one “settle their account” with God. Mere snake oil. Christianity is something altogether different. It is truly not the kind of thing men think of. It is Christ-centered. It is life changing. You get no glory for your own merit in it.

God makes and fulfills his promises. It’s ultimately for his name’s sake that he’s done all this, man. Understanding the triune nature of God and the fulfilment of his promises within himself helps make sense of the Cross and the glories of his grace as both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:26. I hope to honor such wonderful ideas in this talk today. Blessings!


God is at the center of it all, and if you understand that that’s good, blessed are you!

“For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” Deuteronomy 4:31.

“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3.

“For Your name’s sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.” Psalm 25:11.

“For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.” Psalm 31:3.

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.” Ezekiel 36:22.

“Do not despise us, for Your own name’s sake; Do not disgrace the throne of Your glory; Remember and do not annul Your covenant with us.” Jeremiah 14:21.


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