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"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD." Psalms 134:2
Grover Laird, Editor
7030 Dorsey-Evergreen Rd
Fulton, MS 38843
February 2020 Sermon
The Blessing Of Forgiveness
"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." (Psalms 51:1- 4)
One of God’s greatest blessings to the saved, as well as the unsaved, is the blessing of forgiveness of sins. Many fail to take advantage of this blessing because of two reasons. (1) They do not understand the many blessings that come with forgiveness. (2) They do not understand what is involved in obtaining forgiveness. In this study we will consider these two things, giving our attention primarily to forgiveness as it relates to the child of God.
THE BLESSINGS THAT COME WITH FORGIVENESS
1. Forgiveness Delivers One From The Guilt Of Their Sins.
Our text verses are taken from a prayer that David prayed after he had gone in to Bathsheba, the wife or Uriah. In verse three he said, “my sin is ever before me.” Day or night, David could never clear his mind of his great sin. Regret and guilt brought to him continuous pain. In verse fourteen of that psalm, he is again seeking deliverance from the guilt of his sin– “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God....”
The misery that comes from the guilt of sin can be indescribable. But Oh how refreshing is the feeling of forgiveness that moves that pain!
2. Forgiveness Delivers One From The Uncleanness Of Sin.
David surely knew something of the availability of this blessing when he prayed, “Wash me... cleanse me... purge me... create in me a clean heart....” (Vs 2,7, 10) I John 1:9 tells us that cleansing does come with forgiveness– "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) This cleansing gives one a refreshing, new- beginning feeling.
3. Forgiveness Restores Joy.
David felt as if the judgment and guilt of his sins had broken his bones and destroyed his joy. But he knew that forgiveness would change all of that. Notice his prayer-- "Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice." (Verse 8) He also prayed for the restoration of this joy in verse twelve– "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." Forgiveness can restore the joy of one’s salvation.
4. Forgiveness Makes One Eligible For The Mercy Of God.
The Bible promises that if we will obtain forgiveness of our sins, God will deal with us in mercy. Notice: "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13) This means that God will lighten the punishment that we were due, or that He would have normally brought upon us.
The Bible does not promise that forgiveness will save us from having to suffer for our sins. The Bible clearly teaches that when one sows to the flesh he will reap corruption, (Galatians 6:7,8) and the person who does wrong “shall receive for the wrong which he hath done.” (Colossians 3:25) But it does promise mercy to the person who will confess and forsake his sins.
David’s repentance brought him mercy. Though adultery carried the death penalty, (Leviticus 20:10) God’s mercy delivered him from it. (2 Samuel 12:13) The sword of God’s judgment, however, never departed from his house. (2 Samuel 12:10) He received for the wrong which he had done, along with mercy because he truly repented.
King Rehoboam walked in the ways of the Lord for three years. He then “forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.”(2 Chronicles 12:1b) Then in the fifth year of his reign, God sent Shishak king of Egypt against Jerusalem to destroy it. The Bible said that it was because of their sins– "And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD," (2 Chronicles 12:2, 7)
When the King and his princes realized that this great multitude had come against Jerusalem because of their sins, they humbled down before God and repented. This did not put everything back like it was. Shishak still came into the city and did much damage, and things were never the same because he did. (2 Chronicles 12:9,10) But what did happen, was only a token of what would have happened, if God had not extended them mercy because they repented . ( Chronicles 12:7)
Painful judgments can be greatly reduced by forgiveness.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN OBTAINING FORGIVENESS
1.Confession To God.
I John 1:9 makes us this promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) This involves, however, more than an acknowledgment that we have done wrong, as many Scriptures will testify.
For Israel to obtain forgiveness of sins involved more than an acknowledgment of wrong. Once God mentioned a certain judgment that could come in Israel for their sins– "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;" (2 Chronicles 7:13) In the next verse, He outlined what would be required of them to obtain forgiveness of sins and get their land healed– “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
If Israel had to “turn from their wicked ways” in order to be forgiven, (2 Chronicles 7:14) surely the Lord is expecting us to change, if we obtain forgiveness and get help with the problems caused by our sins. Proverbs 28:13 also gives forsaking our sins as one requirement to be forgiven and obtain mercy – "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13)
David teaches us that confession of sin involves more than just an acknowledgment that we have sinned--"For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin."(Psalms38:18)
Here is how I understand this: the Lord does not count our confession if we are not sorry enough for what we have done, or failed to do, to amend our ways. If the Lord does not count one’s faith in Jesus to save unless it is with all of the heart, (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10) surely He does not count one’s confession of sin unless it is with all the heart.
2. Forgiving Others And Holding No Grudge
Jesus made this requirement, to obtain forgiveness, simple and to the point– “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14,15) Again we read, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." (Mark 11:25)
When a person has been badly mistreated, it does become difficult to forgive and clear all the hard feelings away. But remember, God’s help is available and sufficient. Just call upon Him. (Hebrews 4:16) Also, do not hold on to those hard feelings when the Lord gives grace to remove them.
There is one thing that should make it easy for us to forgive others: remember how much God has forgiven us of, and how often He has forgiven us– "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." (Colossians 3:13)
3. Making Amends For Mistreating Another
Jesus gave us some help with how to obtain forgiveness in His sermon on the mount. Notice: "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matthew 5:23, 24) Whether it is worshiping the Lord, or obtaining help in forgiveness; unresolved problems between brethren can stand in the way. Getting forgiveness from God does often involve telling our brother that we are sorry. Getting wrongs right could take some humility, and maybe some finance. But it would surely be a cheap way to do away with some suffering and put us in line for the blessings of the Lord.
4. Confess Wrongs To One’s Church.
If confessing wrong to a brother is important in obtaining God’s forgiveness, surely confessing wrongs we have done our church is also important. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian Church, he admonishes the church to forgive a disorderly brother. (2 Corinthians 2: 6,7) If the church is in a place to forgive a member of his wrong, the member is in a place to ask for it. And doing something that would bring reproach upon our church is wrong.
5. Putting More Into Our Confession
The Bible gives us many examples where God’s people got results from their confession. One thing that seems to stands out in them all is, they put something into it. Sincerity and time seems to always be involved. May we look at a few examples.
In the days of Samuel, Israel drifted away from the Lord. We then find them lamenting after the Lord. They wanted things back like it once was. In seeking to get things right with God, they put away their idols and spent a day in prayer and fasting. It seems that most of the day was spent confessing their sins– "And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh." (1 Samuel 7:6) Revival came to Israel that day.
When Israel drifted away from the Lord in Ezra’s day, the Prophet cried and confessed until God began to move in giving them victory– “Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.” (Ezra 10:1)
Though Peter was one of the most dedicated of the Apostles, he miserably failed his Lord the night before He was crucified. But when he realized what he had done, he put his all into getting it right– “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75)
Notice a few things that Daniel said in a prayer as he confessed his sins and the sins of the people– "We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land." (Daniel 9:5,6)
When Nehemiah got the bad news from home concerning the city of Jerusalem, “he mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,” (Nehemiah 1:4) This involved a few months of time, and also a sincere confession of his sins and the sins of the people. Yes, victory came.
I do believe that we miss out on obtaining forgiveness, if we come short in sincerity and time. Confession that does not produce a change is not sincere enough, and being in a hurry when we are seeking forgiveness does not impress God.
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