Read His Words Before Ours!
Many years ago, an American missionary based in my state of Nigeria was shot by an armed robber as he traveled to the northern part of our country. Wounded in his chest, he knew he would die; in his final moments, he placed his hand on his bloody wound, showed the robber, and said, “This blood is for your repentance; I have forgiven you.”
What a great price for forgiveness! Who can forgive so great a wrong, if not motivated by God? The missionary remembered the great price God paid to forgive him, and he extended the same to the robber, even using similar wording.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” (Luke 23:34)
God’s forgiveness was not only extended to the missionary, but to all who are willing to embrace it. God sacrificed His one and only Son as atonement for the sin of humankind, for Scripture says, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
Since the fall of humankind, sin separated people from God, and the only way humans could approach God was through the sacrifice of animals.
God, speaking to Moses said,
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement.” (Leviticus 17:11)
Romans 6:23 explains, “For the wages of sin is death,” and the sacrificial lifeblood protects the sinner from the consequences of sin, which are death and eternal separation from God.
But Hebrew 9:12-18 tells us an animals’ blood sacrifice was temporary, and the atonement was partial, since it had to be done repeatedly. Contrastingly, when Christ came as the high priest and entered the most holy place, He offered His own blood once and for all time, rendering future atonement unnecessary.
Jesus’ death ended the sacrifice of the blood of bulls and goats, which is unable to cleanse humankind from their sins permanently. By His blood, we have been brought near to God. Hebrew 9:24 says, “For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands [. . .] but into heaven itself, so that He might now appear in the presence of God for us.”
Now, whoever believes in the atoning blood of Christ as the price for the forgiveness of his or her sins, they will be saved, rescued for eternity. Yet, I recall times of sharing the gospel when some people would respond they don’t need Jesus’ forgiveness because they had not sinned. This belief is a falsehood, because Scripture confirms, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God[.]” (Romans 3:23)
The prophet Isaiah testified,
“All of us have become like something unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment[.]” (Isaiah 64:6)
Colossians 1:21 agrees, “Once you were alien and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions.”
These passages make clear that on our own merit, we are lost, drowning in our sin.
For those who reject the gift of forgiveness, “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:26)
Only the atoning blood of Christ can usher us into the presence of God.
And oh, how God longs to welcome us into His presence and fellowship with us!
Ephesians 1:5-6 tells us, “He predestined us to be adopted as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace lavished on us in the Beloved One.”
Jesus, while lamenting over Jerusalem, expressed God’s keen desire to gather His people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. (Luke 13:34)
Using imagery of living and feasting together, He expresses His desire for us to dine with Him, and Him with us. (Revelation 3:20) We who have received the covering of Christ’s righteousness through His atoning blood can confidently testify how glorious it is to fellowship with the Master of the Universe.
The psalmist confirms this abundance of joy in God’s presence. (Psalm 16:11)
Sisters, here is our hope, and the reason Jesus was willing to pay the excruciatingly high price of our forgiveness.
Our lives, once lost in sin, have been re-created in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), awaiting our acceptance of His forgiveness. ALL whose sins have been atoned for by His blood will be with Him forever when we surrender our lives back to Him.
He has gone to prepare a place for us, and one day, He will return to gather us to Himself in eternity. (John 14:3) Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!