With the dawn of 2019, a bit of reflection over the past year imposes upon us the times and types of regrets over opportunities lost and tasks undone.
Regrets are universal, but freedom from them are consequential. For believers in God, it is most important we should learn to distinguish between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the accusations of the devil.
There’s a fine promise in the New Testament book of Hebrews that help Christians to “dust off” and start a clean slate.
It is because I know so many Christians today, including some of the saintliest and most experienced servants of God, are being harassed by the devil that I believe God would have us to consider afresh the ancient prophecy of the Prophet Jeremiah, as quoted in Hebrews 10:17: “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” at the outset of the year 2019.
I want to bring to our notice three aspects of God’s forgiveness:
• The ground of God’s forgiveness: In four words, the ground of our forgiveness is the “precious blood of Christ.” This is very much to the point as we think of conviction of sin in general and the accusations of Satan in particular. In Revelation 12:10-11 we read: “The accuser of our brethren is cast down which accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony …”
We need to rediscover the use of these weapons today. The saints of old believed in the power of the blood and they testified to the power of the blood to Satan and to a pagan world. So they overcame.
They did not stop to argue with the devil. Nor did they attempt to minimize their sins, or to justify themselves. They simply pleaded the power of the precious blood of Christ to cleanse from every stain. This expression is sometimes used by Christians today almost as superstitiously and unintelligently as if it were a heathen incantation. We need to realize what it means.
The blood signifies the life, for “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” The blood shed signifies a violent death. Therefore, the term “the blood of Christ” signifies the violent sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ in the place of sinners to satisfy the demands of divine justice. The merits of that sacrifice are co-extensive with the merits of the one who offered it. Therefore they are infinite and eternal.
• • The scope of God’s forgiveness: “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
• The Holy Spirit’s object in the use of these words is to emphasize the complete comprehensiveness of God’s forgiveness under the new covenant. The word “sins” translated in the Greek means “missing the mark.” The mark God has set is absolute perfection. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” said Jesus to his disciples (Matt.5:48).
If that is not absolute perfection, we do not know what is. Judged by that standard, we sin with every breath we draw, for what do we think or say or do, as God would?
Therefore our shortcomings and all our sins of omission, both conscious and unconscious, are more than can be numbered. But of them all God just says: “Your sins…will I remember no more.”
The word used for “iniquities” comes from a word meaning “lawless.” It denotes one whose wickedness is such that he not only fails to live up to God’s standard, but treats God’s laws with such contemptuous disregard that he behaves as though they simply did not exist!
But so great is God’s mercy through Christ that even of such acts, stemming from such an attitude and however they be, He says: “Their…iniquities will I remember no more.” What more could we possibly ask?
• The assurance of God’s forgiveness
“Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” The assurance of our forgiveness does not depend upon our deserving, but alone upon the sovereign will of God.
Most assuredly, it was not because of any beauty in us, either seen or foreseen, that God set His love upon us.
We were nothing but abhorrent sinners before God passed us by. What then is the explanation of God’s gracious intervention?
Apostle Paul gives the answer in Ephesians 1:5: “God predestinated us into the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself according to the good pleasure of His will.
In v.11, he continued, “according to the purpose of Him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will.”
For reasons fully known only to God Himself, He willed to save such as us “when we were in our blood.” And if He willed to save us, He willed to cleanse us too.
So, He who willed the universe into existence also willed our sins out of existence.
But it was not by an arbitrary act of God’s will divorced from the demands of divine justice that this was accomplished. No.
It was by Jesus Christ. He who willed the end willed also the means appropriate to the end and to His character.
Then said He, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God…by the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9,10).
The ground of our assurance is nothing less than the sovereign will of Almighty God, based upon His redemptive work and declared in His infallible Word.
Have you made any resolutions for 2019?
Whether or not we can keep them till this year-end, we can afford to start a new slate this year, committing our sins, failures, and shortcomings into the hand of the One who is able to see us through in the year which is really NEW still.
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