Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | June 6, 2006

Amnesty

Today is a primary election day and the word amnesty has been repeated numerous times in the last month or so.  Although, it is an interesting debate that has incited an enormous amount of controversy the intent of this entry is not to promote a political position.  No, our intention is to discuss the amnesty that God has granted us in forgiving our sins. 

I can personally appreciate today’s topic, since the sins of my past are dark and numerous.  My past would reveal many evil deeds, which certainly deserve severe judgment and condemnation from God.  If I were to stand alone before the judgment throne based on my deeds, my future would be to endure eternal the wrath of God within the hottest flames of hell.  Although, by the worlds standard my past may be worse than many other people, there is no fallen human being that could escape a guilty verdict before the judgment throne.

Question 56 of the Heidelberg Catechism considers the statement in the Apostles Creed, which affirms belief in the forgiveness of sins: 

Q.  What do you believe concerning "the forgiveness of sins"?

A. I believe that God, because of Christ's atonement, will never hold against me any of my sins 1 nor my sinful nature which I need to struggle against all my life. 2 Rather, in his grace God grants me the righteousness of Christ to free me forever from judgment. 3 

1 Psalm 103:3-4, 10, 12:  Who (The Lord) pardons all your iniquities, who heals you’re your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion…He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities…As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  Micah 7:18-19:  Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?  He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.  He will again have compassion on us, He will tread our iniquities under foot.  Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  2 Corinthians 5:18-21: …He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 1 John 1:7: …but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with on another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 2:2: ..and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
2 Romans 7:21-25:  I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.  For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.  Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the lae of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
3 John 3:17-18: For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  Romans 8:1-2:  Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.
 

Our amnesty was not decreed without a significant cost.  The price of our amnesty was the perfect sacrifice of the Son of God who took the place of our judgment.  This is good news to learn that we have been pardoned, escaping the just punishment for our evil nature.  This concept may be more appreciated by reflecting on the following quote:   

“Thus, the wrath that we were storing up finally burst like a dam at the cross, sweeping Christ away to the very bowels of hell itself, from which he returned not only safely but victoriously.  The wrath of God is not set aside.  It is not something that God finally “got over.”  Rather, it was propitiated – a word that “atonement” does not match.  After all, “to atone” means to cover over; “to propitiate” means to exhaust until there is nothing left.  Because Christ’s death is propitiatory, God’s wrath is not merely pushed aside or somehow overcome by God’s love.  It is entirely spent.”  “Good News for Bad People” by Dr. Michael Horton, Modern Reformation Volume 15, Number 3, May/June 2006 

How beautiful is it to understand the gracious nature of the Gospel?  Where would we be without Christ and His saving work?

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