The need to be forgiven?


                        Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they wanted to bring in and lay before Him.  And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.  When He saw their faith, he said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”  And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”  Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today” (Luke 5: 18-26.)


                To act in disobedience to the will of God is to sin.  A completely pure God does not associate with sinful things.  Yet mankind, the precious jewel of God’s creation, is steeped in sin; the evils of iniquity that separate God and man cannot be ignored or forgotten; they cannot be swept under the rug, or discarded; instead they can only be forgiven; God alone has the authority to pardon sinners […] The religious leaders were incensed when Jesus forgave the lame man; they believed he was a human being; they did not recognize him as the only Son of the Eternal Father; the creator in human form; “the image of the invisible God.”  He did not use words to tame the hearts of the angry doubters.  Instead, his authority was established by the two healthy legs of a once crippled man.  By the power of the Almighty God (in the presence of many witnesses) he had done the work of God; and that work continues today.  Jesus Christ has the power to displace every obstacle that stands between God and man.  He is the embodiment of God’s forgiveness; he is God’s solution to mankind’s iniquity.  Those who trust in him can finally know freedom from shame and guilt; the evils of sin can be washed away; and at last, sinful man can be in fellowship with a pure and Holy God.

                [Warning:  this illustration may be disturbing]  When I was a child, my stepfather was the local Boy Scout troop leader.  Every summer, our troop canoed around the Lake Superior peninsula.  One day, I went alone with my stepfather to inspect the next campsite.  My stepdad was well educated and well respected in the community; unfortunately he was also a pedophile.  That day I was victimized.  As we returned to the main campsite, I remained in a state of shock; later that day I recall standing on a rock near the water’s edge; I thought ‘if I just jump in the water, this feeling in my heart will be washed away.’  But the water didn’t wash away the guilt (although I was a victim, my stepfather’s sin had affected me as it was my own.)  I felt a great separation from God that day.  From that time on until I gave my life to Jesus Christ, I carried that guilt and shame around with me.  Jesus eventually accomplished what that water could not; he washed away all of the filthiness in my heart; and I have finally regained the innocence I lost so many years ago.

                There is no guilt, no shame, and no sin, that God cannot forgive.  He is ready and willing to make you clean; to cleanse you of all unrighteousness; to restore you to purity; to bring you close to your Eternal Father.  Jesus Christ alone has the authority to accomplish God’s forgiveness.  Ask him to come in to your life; to cleanse you and make you complete; and you will fellowship with Him and know his love; and you too, will finally stand before the Holy God and not be ashamed.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You remove all of our sins.  We desire to draw near to You, and to fellowship with You.  Jesus, we recognize Your authority to forgive our sins.  Please cleanse our hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Wash away our iniquities and restore our innocence.  If we have any guilt or shame that we still carry, carry it for us; we give it to You now.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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