Having considered yesterday the "freely given" salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ - "How Free?" - we now consider the extent of the pardon we received when we trusted in Christ. How forgiven are believers?
This forgiven: "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8).
God accounts the atoning sacrifice of His Son as so perfectly executed that those who avail themselves of His grace need never fear that He will ever again place sin on our account. He "will not impute sin" to us because He imputed them so completely to Christ. Thus, no jeopardy regarding our relationship with God exists since the enemy that once divided us has been vanquished. Even the Old Testament speaks of such mercy in its foreshadowing of the redemptive work of Christ.
"Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you: (Isaiah 59:2).
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:2).
Once we have entered into the safe ark of the Lord Jesus, the raging storm of God's wrath against sin can never, by God's own determination, threaten us again. "Jesus… delivered us from the wrath to come" (I Thessalonians 1:10). Again, the relationship is secure. Our fellowship with our Heavenly Father, however, constitutes another matter. We may or may not walk with Him in the close communion that leads to a corresponding life of obedience. God deals with us as a loving Father, administering tendermercies and lovingkindness as we walk with Him, but also applying the rod of correction if we stray. "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6). Note that the chastening referenced concerns the sons received, or rather those whom God has freely forgiven forever. He loves us too much to allow sin to have dominion over us after He has granted full pardon. Moreover, His own reputation and integrity demand that He act if His children live in a manner contrary to the grace we have received in the Lord Jesus. Thus, while we will never face the wrath of God as a condemning judge, we can experience the painful rod of God wielded by Him as a loving Father.
The more we know the Lord Jesus, and the more we discover how free is the forgiveness we have received in Him, the more motivated and empowered we are to love, trust, and obey Him. God loves us so much that He made possible a salvation secured by the suffering of His Son. He left nothing undone as He poured out the full fury of His wrath against the One who not only bore our sins, but was also "made to be sin for us" (I Peter 2:24; II Corinthians 5:21). The further we journey into the light of such mercy, the more the Holy Spirit transforms our determinations and inclinations whereby we seek to requite the grace we have known. "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). We can never repay our Lord, of course, but we can respond to His goodness by seeking to better know the full extent of our freely given relationship, and then by walking in the blessedness of fellowship and faithfulness. How forgiven? As mentioned yesterday in response to "How free?", sublimely, wondrously, gloriously, entirely, breathtakingly forgiven! This is the grace of the Lord Jesus, and the brilliant illumination of truth that assures our hearts, and motivates our determination to honor Him.
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses."
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
Weekly Memory Verse
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.