Sermon #558 Series: Basic Bible Doctrine
Title: THE BLESSED FORGIVENESS OF SIN
Text: Isaiah 43:25
Readings: Office: Auditorium:
Subject: Divine forgiveness
Date: Sunday Morning - January 15, 1984
I stand before you this morning as a man who has experienced the grace of God. God, in his infinite mercy and for reasons known only to himself, has redeemed me, justified me, and saved me by his matchless grace through the blood and righteousness of his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Though my sins are many, loathesome, and vile, the Lord God has blotted out all my sins, and forgiven me all my iniquities. He has put away my sins and purged my conscience of guilt by the blood of Christ. I turned away from his gospel, and would have none of his reproofs. I cared not for the voice of his servant, nor for the instruction of his Word. The blessed Book of Life I would not read. These knees refused to bend in prayer. My heart was set upon vanity. The actions of my life were so vile that I would not share them with you, and my heart even more vile than my deeds. Yet, in the time of his love, by an act of almighty grace, the Lord God came to me and freely forgave me of all my sins.
Now this is the reason why I am here today - I want to know The Blessed Forgiveness of Sin. It is my heart’s great desire, burden, and prayer that the Lord will graciously grant to some of you the forgiveness of sin. I cannot save your soul. I cannot change your heart. I cannot give you life. I cannot forgive your sin. I can do nothing but pray for you and point you to Christ. I can do nothing but preach the gospel to you, and that I shall do. Since the day Christ saved me and forgave my sin, I cannot help speaking of his love. He has pardoned me! He has forgiven me! He has blotted out my sins! I cannot be silent. This tongue should sooner cleave to the roof of my mouth, than cease to proclaim the free-grace of God in all its mighty displays of electing, redeeming, pardoning, and saving mercy. God has forgiven me! I will praise his holy name! God has forgiven me! I will speak forth his righteousness! God has forgiven me! I will proclaim to you The Blessed Forgiveness of Sin!
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.”
1. Who are the people to whom God will be merciful?
2. What is mercy’s great deed?
3. How does God forgive sin?
4. Why does God forgive sin?
5. What is the promise which God makes to sinners?
I. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE TO WHOM GOD WILL BE MERCIFUL?
In this passage our Lord clearly describes those people upon whom he will bestow his favor. 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.
I come to you in the name of Christ to preach the gospel of the free-grace of God to sinners. I have not a word to say to you Pharisees who think that you are righteous, except this - Until you see that your supposed righteousness is an abomination to God, you will never obtain the righteousness of God in Christ (Rom. 10:1-4).
NOTE: Every promise of the gospel is made to sinners - “The Son of man came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matt. 11:28-30; Matt. 1:20; Isa. 1:4-6, 18; 55:6-7).
This is how God describes those people to whom he promises his mercy (vv. 22-24).
A. They were a prayerless people - “Thou hast not called upon me.”
Most likely they had said many prayers. They had repeated many forms of prayer. But no real prayer had ever come from their hearts to God. Their lips never breathed a living word to God.
NOTE: A prayerless heart is a Christless heart.
Yet, the Lord God says to these prayerless, graceless souls - “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.”
B. These people were men and women who despised God and religion.
The Lord looked past their words and gestures to their hearts, and said - “Thou hast been weary of me, O Israel!” What a solemn charge! Yet, it is true of some in this house! God has set before you the means of grace, and you are weary of his blessings set before you!
· The public assembly of his people.
· The reading of his Word.
· The preaching of the gospel.
Not only are these rich favors of heaven without attraction to you, they are wearisome things to you!
Yet, even to such people, God says, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.”
C. Notice their character again. There is no goodness in them. They are a thankless people - “Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings.”
They had their herds and flocks multiplied many times over. But they paid no tribute of thanks to God, who had so bountifully blessed them. They did not even offer one of their small, sickly calves to him.
NOTE: Even the little chicken, when it takes a drink of God’s water lifts its head toward heaven, as if to give God thanks.
NOTE: The tithe of the Old Testament law was instituted as a tribute to God, by which men were bound to acknowledge God’s bounty toward them.
NOTE: Those men who show no true thanks to God are worse than brute beasts. All that we have, we owe to his bountiful hand.
· Daily mercies
· Redeeming mercies
· Providential mercies
Will we dare rob God of his lawful and just tribute? These people did. They were a thankless people. But God was gracious still. He said to them - “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.”
D. Again, these people were an utterly useless people - “Neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices…but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins.”
It is well said that men was created in his chief end to glorify God. God made the sun, the moon, the stars, the beasts of the field, and the fish of the sea to honor his name. But there are many men and women, perhaps even some of you, who never give a thought, much less an effort, to the honor of God.
Most people live for themselves, only for themselves.
· They are of no service to mankind.
· They are of no service to God.
Yet, the Lord says to such useless sinners, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.”
E. Once more, the Lord describes the character of these men and women to whom he would be gracious - They were a people who wearied God. “Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.”
They were religious people, very religious. But their religion was only a fig-leaf by which they endeavored to cover their sin and hide from God. As they sat in the sanctuary of God, year after year, they wearied him with their sins. Yet, the Lord says to these sinners, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.”
NOTE: The point I am making is this - 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 (Psa. 103:8-14).
II. We have seen who those people are to whom God will be merciful. They are sinners. Now, WHAT IS MERCY’S GREAT DEED?
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 (Ex. 34;5-7).
A. Our text speaks of a divine forgiveness.
· God is the only One who can forgive sin.
· God’s forgiveness is the only One whose forgiveness we need, desire, and must have for the salvation of our souls and the peace of our troubled consciences (Psa. 130:3-4).
B. This is a surprising forgiveness.
“I, even I!” The God against whom we have sinned, whose name we have blasphemed, whose law we have broken, the God whose grace we have despised is a God who forgives sin!
C. This is a present forgiveness - “Blotteth out”
D. This is a complete forgiveness - “Blotteth out”
E. This is a permanent forgiveness.
God charged our sins upon his Son Jesus Christ, and they shall never be charged upon us!
III. But God is holy, just, righteous, and true. He has said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Therefore, this third question must be answered - HOW DOES GOD FORGIVE SIN?
God cannot forgive sin unless he can do so in a way that is honoring to his law and satisfying to his justice.
A. In order for a holy God to forgive sin four things must be done.
1. The law of God must be honored and perfectly obeyed.
2. The justice of God must be satisfied.
3. The sinner must be punished.
4. The sin must be removed.
B. 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.
The Lord Jesus Christ is that Substitute! In him, and only in him is there forgiveness with God (Rom. 3:23-26; 1 John 1:7, 9).
Illustration: One room school.
IV. WHY DOES GOD FORGIVE SIN? “For mine own sake!”
The greatest honor and glory of God is his mercy, his holy, righteous, and just mercy in forgiving sin.
V. WHAT IS THE PROMISE WHICH GOD MAKES TO SINNERS?
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will not remember thy sins.”
There are some things God 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.
A. He will never remember our sins so as to treat us any the less graciously because of them.
B. He will never remember our sins so as to bring them up and require payment for them while we live.
C. God will not remember our sins when we stand before Him in judgment - “I do not remember that, it is not in my book!” (Jer. 50:20).
D. God will not remember our sins in the distribution of his heavenly crowns and gifts.
1. How can I obtain this blessed forgiveness of sin? (v. 26). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. What shall we do who have been forgiven?
· Give thanks
· Seek to honor the name of your merciful God.
· Make known to sinners the forgiveness of sin in Christ.