“A Just God and a Saviour”
The Lord our God, the one true and living God of heaven and earth, is a God who freely and abundantly forgives sin through the blood of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what God himself says, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
The People Forgiven
Who are the people to whom God will be merciful? They are not good, righteous, and morally upright men and women. So long as a man thinks that he is good and righteous, he will never obtain mercy from God. The characters to whom God says he will be merciful are sinners. The grace and lovingkindness of Jehovah is reserved for sinners. Until you see that your supposed righteousness is an abomination to God, you will never obtain the righteousness of God in Christ (Romans 10:1-4). Every promise of the gospel is made to sinners. — “The Son of man came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 11:28-30; Isaiah 1:4-6, 18; 55:6-7). The grace and mercy of God is for sinners. Christ died for sinners. The gospel is sent to sinners. God saves sinners. God forgives sinners. I rejoice to tell you that our God is a God of mercy (Psalm 103:8-14). There is mercy in Christ and forgiveness for sinners.
Mercy’s great deed is the blessed forgiveness of sin. It is the glory of grace to forgive sin. It is the majesty of mercy to forgive sin. It is the character of God to forgive iniquity and transgression, and sin (Exodus 34:5-7). God is the only one who can forgive sin. God’s forgiveness is the only forgiveness we need, desire, and must have for the salvation of our souls and the peace of our troubled consciences (Psalm 130:3-4).
How does God forgive sin? There is only one way for a holy and just God to forgive sin. — God can only forgive sin through the obedience and sacrifice of an all-sufficient Substitute. God’s forgiveness must be a just forgiveness. Justice must be satisfied, or sin cannot be forgiven. The Lord Jesus Christ is that Substitute by whom divine justice has been satisfied! In him, and only in him, is there forgiveness with God (Romans 3:23-26; 1 John 1:9). In Christ he who is our God is both “a just God and a Savior.”
Why does God forgive sin? He says, “for mine own sake!” The greatest honor and glory of God is his mercy, his holy, righteous, and just mercy in forgiving sin (Psalm 106:8; Ezekiel 16:62-63).
What is the promise which God makes to sinners whose sins are forgiven by him? What a promise this is! — “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will not remember thy sins.” There are some things God himself cannot do. He cannot lie. He cannot break his covenant. He cannot forsake his people. He cannot be unjust. He cannot remember the sins of his people. I do not mean that God is not aware of the fact that we have sinned. I mean that in so far as his law and justice are concerned, our sins do not exist; therefore, God cannot remember them. He will never remember our sins so as to treat us any the less graciously because of them. He will never remember our sins so as to bring them up and require payment for them while we live. God will not remember our sins when we stand before Him in judgment (Jeremiah 50:20). God will not remember our sins in the distribution of his heavenly crowns and gifts.
Would you be forgiven of all your sins? Then confess your sin, and put God in remembrance of this promise. — “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified” (Isaiah 43:25-26).
Don Fortner (Daily readings 25 June 2013)