As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re now at the crucifixion of Christ. There’s so much for us to see in this section of Scripture.
Sometimes we need to be reminded about the simplest concepts. Something as common as forgiveness should be reviewed again and again so that it stays fresh in our hearts. Christ is our greatest example of forgiveness, even while hanging on the cross.
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals — one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Luke 23:32-34 NIV
In the past I’ve shared about what forgiveness is. It started out as God’s idea. In the Old Testament, God is the only one who ever forgave. Forgiveness is the end of the penalty for our actions. It cancels the demand for retribution. It also frees us from the guilt.
Jesus started the process of our forgiveness even while being humiliated and ignored on the cross. But, how does this process work? Let’s start with King David in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12.
It all began when he stayed home from battle when he should have been with his army. He ended up on his porch, watching his neighbor’s wife as she bathed. David ended up being involved in adultery, murder, and a cover-up.
God sends the prophet, Nathan, to confront David with these sins. David is convicted, repents, and writes a song about his experience. (Psalm 51)
In the first 4 verses of Psalm 51 he used 5 different words for sin. He wanted to make sure he covered everything. That’s how forgiveness starts.
The first step – Sin is committed. There is a failure, a hurt against someone. But the truth is that no matter who gets hurt, there’s one important truth we need to recognize.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Psalm 51:4 NIV
Think about all that were hurt by David’s actions. There was Bathsheba, Uriah, Joab, Nathan, David’s family, as well as the whole nation of Israel. In spite of all this hurt, David recognized that the sin was against God only.
This is the key. We have such a high opinion of ourselves. The fact is that we were created to be perfect. Anything less offends God. There is no sin we could possibly commit that’s not against God.
There is good news, however. That’s not the end of the story. The next step is that once sin is committed, forgiveness is purchased.
We know from Scripture that without blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). Under the Old Testament Law there had to be a sacrifice. The Good News is that we live after the cross.
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Matthew 26:27-28 NIV
The blood of Christ paid for our forgiveness once and for all. It was the one perfect payment needed.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
Ephesians 1:7 NIV
This verse says that we have been loosed off by His blood and our sins are forgiven. Forgiveness is available to all.
But that’s also a problem. It’s available to all, but it’s not yet manifest. That’s what the Good News of Christ is all about. It’s communicating the forgiveness of God to the world.
Each one of us, as believers, should be proclaiming this great Gospel.
Question: How has God’s forgiveness changed your life?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi