indeed (third article on the incident of Mark 2:1-12)
“Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
Look how eager the Lord Jesus was to forgive sins. The man hadn’t even asked for such. No one had asked for forgiveness, for themselves or for the paralytic.
The Lord Jesus brought the subject up and unilaterally announced the man’s sins were gone. And the man lay there and took it.
It’s amazing, is what it is.
Forgiveness is in God’s DNA.
It’s the nature of God to forgive sins, much to the consternation of the enemy who keeps trying to brand God as a sin-inspector/catcher/treasurer. Moses had asked the Lord to “show me your glory.” God said, “I’ll show you my goodness.” (Exodus 33:18-19) We take this to mean that God’s goodness is one element of His glory, although far less than the full measure. In truth, Moses could no more stand to be shown the fullness of God’s glory than a housefly could hope to stand a half-mile from the sun and take it all its radiance without being fried to a crisp in the process.
“The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with (Moses) there, and proclaimed His name: ‘The Lord, the Lord God. Compassionate and gracious. Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth. Maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations. Forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sins…’ ” (Exodus 34:6-7)
I enjoy pointing out that there is nothing else like this self-revelation from God except for all the places where it is quoted, throughout the Old Testament. The prophetic writers correctly judged this to be one of the most important insights in all history.
We do well to keep in mind that the very nature of God means that He is compassionate and gracious and delights in forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sins.
The other Old Testament text that drives this point home comes from Exodus 20 where the Lord gives Moses the Ten Commandments. Toward the end of this amazing chapter, the Lord says: “You shall make an altar of earth for me. And you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you” (Exodus 20:24).
Get that? The Lord is prescribing an altar for His people.
Question: If God planned for the Ten Commandments as His way for people to be saved and live forever, why did He give provisions for an altar where animals were to be slain?
The only answer that works is that He had no thought of those Commandments being the way of salvation. They were His standard of behavior and nothing more. They are not even “everything God has to say” about that or anything else. They certainly were not a means of salvation since we are not even able to keep the first one.
Blessing people is God’s nature.
Look back in Mark 1 where the leper runs to Jesus–against every rule, incidentally–and falls before Him. “Lord,” he says, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Our Lord did the unthinkable and touched the untouchable, then said, “I am willing; be clean.”
Jesus is willing.
On the cross, without anyone asking but while His executioners were doing their worst, He prayed, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23).
He came to bless, heal, and forgive. What a wonderful Savior. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Forgiveness depends on the cross.
The cross is God’s way of salvation. Every Old Testament altar pointed to the cross.
So, this becomes one more statement in the Holy Word as to God’s provision for salvation and the availability of that redemption.
What a wonderful God we have. One who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rejoices when people do right and He loves to bless them.
We should never hesitate to ask for forgiveness. We have no inherent right to it, but He has offered it to us freely and fully, thanks to Calvary.
“According to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1).
Truly, God is love. (I John 4:8). We see it in Jesus, from beginning to end. Exactly like the Father, He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
The scribes got this right: Only God can forgive sin.
If you borrow ten dollars from Chuck, only he can forgive that debt. I could say, “You know that money you owe Chuck? Write it off. I forgive you.” But Chuck would be out his money. Only Chuck can forgive that debt.
The scribes were right to a point. They were close, but still missed the point. If Jesus is indeed forgiving sin, then He is God. Sin being an offense to God, only God can forgive it, and Jesus is doing that very thing.
Satan attacks God as being unloving and unforgiving. But the Lord Jesus said otherwise. “Which one of you fathers,” He asked, “if your son asks for bread, will you give him a rock?” None of them.
“If your son asks for meat, will you give him a snake?” Certainly not. Give us credit for being reasonable.
“Well,” Jesus said, “if you being evil know how to give good gifts to your son, how much more will the Heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11).
Thank God for such a wonderful Savior and loving Father.