Lent 3: Forgiven

From the cross, His hands and feet nailed to rough timber, Jesus spoke seven times. The first thing out of His mouth, when others cursed their enemies and cursed the ones who nailed them there, was “Father, forgive them…they don’t know what they do.”
If I could only choose only one word to characterize the follower of Jesus, that word would be “forgiven.” To be forgiven means that sin has been carried away…a debt owed has been paid in full…an injury caused has been fully restored…the offense has been covered.
To be forgiven captures the emphasis of words like “grace,” and “peace,” and “mercy” and “reborn.” And at the cross of Calvary, forgiveness was accomplished in full. Nothing was left behind. No pieces were left to be picked up at a later date. All can be forgiven.
But forgiveness, while freely offered, was not freely purchased. The cross was not an exercise in cheap grace for a costlier penalty. It was the full payment price for debts incurred. The cross did not just lightly cover over the sins committed. The blood of Jesus shed there for us was full atonement, complete satisfaction of the Father’s wrath against sin.
This begs a question: If the Triune God of the Universe, our Creator, and only wise God is satisfied with the sacrifice of Jesus, how can we look for another way? There is only one way for sin to be taken out of the way; for debts to be fully repaid. And that way is “by grace through faith” in Jesus’ sacrifice.
As Easter draws nearer, take some time again to linger at the foot of the cross. Bring the sins that still torment you, the lingering guilt and regret and shame over sins long ago forgiven and allow the blood of Jesus to cover them once and forever.
Because of Jesus, we are forgiven. Our debts are paid. Our sacrifice offered to a Holy God. There is none greater. There is none other.
Trust. Jesus.  Today.

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