The Forgiveness of God

THE FORGIVENESS OF GOD

by Wayne S. Walker

     “But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Psalm 130:4).  Sometimes Bible critics claim to see a contradiction in the Bible between the pictures of God in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  They say that the God of the Old Testament was a wrathful God filled with vengeance, but the God of the New Testament is characterized by love, mercy, and grace.  However, this distinction is just a figment of someone’s imagination.  Even the New Testament reminds us that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).  And the passage quoted from Psalm 130 shows that in the Old Testament, God offered forgiveness, which is a result of love, mercy, and grace.

     Some carry the idea of God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness too far and conclude that no matter how they live, God will still love them, accept them as they are, and automatically forgive them even though they continue in sin.  Even in apostolic days there were those who would “turn the grace of our God into lewdness” (Jude v. 4).  It is true that God still loves all people, even those who rebel against Him (John 3:16).  However, He does not and will not accept those who disobey His will (Matthew 7:21-23).  And His forgiveness, while available to everyone, is received only by those who repent and obey Him (Acts 17:30-31, Romans 6:17-18).

     At the same time, we can and should be extremely grateful that forgiveness of sin is possible, else we would have no hope.  All responsible human beings have sinned (Romans 3:23).  The wages of our sin is death—eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).  Yet, in Christ “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).  Therefore, we can rejoice with Paul who said, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).  And with the Psalmist we can say, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).  What a blessing is ours in forgiveness!

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