Redemption and Forgiveness

Photo by Cristiano de Assuncao
Photo by Cristiano de Assuncao

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Eph. 1:7

Here, the apostle reminds us that in Christ we have the forgiveness of all our sins: “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (1:7). No one can completely escape the reality of guilt. We all have to deal with it. And there are basically two ways to deal with guilt. One way is to ignore it, harden your heart, and sear your conscience. Unfortunately, this is the advice that many mental health professionals give to people dealing with genuine guilt (though I am not denying that there is such a thing as a false sense of guilt). Guilt is not a bad thing when it is the response of our soul to sin in our hearts and lives. It is a warning that something is wrong and needs to be dealt with. Ignoring that is like covering up cancer with a Band-Aid. You can bury it for a while, but it will eventually rise up against you in the day of judgment.

The other way is to acknowledge your sin and to try to make things right. However, we cannot make things right if we only try to work on the horizontal level. The most important dimension to sin is the vertical. We have sinned against God. And there is no way we can adequately right our wrongs against God. This is of course because since God is infinitely exalted above us, our sin is infinitely heinous and therefore deserving of infinite punishment. We have spent what we cannot pay back. We can never purge our sins. We are enslaved to the just claims of God’s judgment.

This is why the gospel is really good news. We could shed our blood from now until eternity and never pay the debt we owe to God. But the God-man, Jesus Christ, has come and shed his infinitely precious blood for us. In him we are delivered from our liability to God’s holy wrath against sin. Our mites can never pay the debt we owe. But for those who are in Christ, the riches of God’s grace came and paid the debt for us. There is truly no greater blessing than this. Everything else is in comparison but shadows and smoke. If we can claim this reality, then it does not matter what else happens to us, does it? For if your sin is paid for, if your debt is paid, then God is for us. And if God is for you, who can be against you?

By: Jeremiah Bass