Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 3 March 2015
Page 11

It’s All about Forgiveness

Andy Robison

Andy RobisonChristians across the world work hard. I never cease to be amazed at how much people give of their time, effort, money and various talents—from carpentry to technology to medicine to evangelism—to advance the Lord’s cause. The Gospel needs preached, and in publishing it, there is a whole lot that needs done to get out the message. Whatever these selfless Christians do is all—they would certainly agree—for one goal: the forgiveness of sins. They do it because they are in Christ and have experienced the washing away of sins in baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16). They do it because they know God expects of us, as Christians, to be a people of good works (Ephesians 2:10). They do these things so that the cause of Christ can advance and more and more people can learn about the forgiveness of sins. This is why Christianity exists. This is why Christ died on the cross. This is the reason God planned this plan from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Sin is a real problem. It is what separates people from a holy God. The Psalmist praised God with this acknowledgment of His holiness: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You” (Psalm 5:4). This holy God, through the prophet, identified sin as the reason people feel far from their Creator (Isaiah 59:1-2). Sin draws people away into a downward spiral (James 1:13-15). Sin is a submission to the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4; cf. Ephesians 2:1-3). Sin has a real punishment. Beyond the fruitless emptiness of sin in this life (Romans 6:21-22) is the “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” into which the unfaithful servant will be cast. It is a place of “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). It is little wonder that some within denominationalism and even within the church try to soften the Bible’s teaching on hell. It is unpalatable; it is horrible. Nevertheless, no matter how man tries to soften it, the plain Bible teaching of the eternal nature of this punishment still stands.

God has a redeeming plan. He foreordained Christ before the world began to come and shed His blood so people could be freed from these aimless, sinful ways (1 Peter 1:18-20). Until Christ came, then, God was slowly unveiling His plan so that people could learn from the Old Covenant how they would eventually interpret the Covenant of Christ (Galatians 3:24-25; Hebrews 8:6-13). When Christ came, then, at just the right time, it was so people could be redeemed (Galatians 4:4-6) or bought back. When obedient, then, to God’s plan, they make the move from the power of Satan’s darkness to the light of the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13; cf. Acts 26:16-18).

The plan is simple when unclouded by worldly, denominational wishes. Once one hears the Gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17), he must believe (John 8:24; 3:16; Hebrews 4:2). He must repent of those sins that separated him from God in the first place (Acts 17:30-31) and be baptized (immersed) for the remission of those sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:1-6). Then, he must remain faithful, being a new creature zealous for good works (Revelation 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 2:14). If he stays that way until his passing or the Lord’s return, there is a glorious reward that awaits (1 Peter 1:3-4).

It is all about the forgiveness of sins. Every work authorized by Christ is eventually about pointing people to the forgiveness of sins. Without such forgiveness, there is no hope, but only desperation. Christians work to publish the means of forgiveness of sins so that people can have peace with God through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1-2).

Life-Giving Blood

David A. Sargent

David A. SargentThe World Health Organization reports that Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The WHO states that the virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Although great precautionary measures are used, we’ve witnessed recently how some doctors and caregivers working in West Africa have contracted the virus. The most recent case of an American aid worker catching the virus is Dr. Rick Sacra.

Sacra, 51, has been treating patients on and off in Liberia for 15 years. In August, he went back to Monrovia, the national capital of Liberia, to help deliver babies. While there, somehow he contracted the Ebola virus.

On Friday, September 5, Sacra was flown to Omaha, Nebraska in a special medevac plane. He has been given two experimental treatments, one of which consisted of blood plasma from another American aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, who caught Ebola in Liberia but has recently recovered.

Michaeleen Doucleff reports, “Brantly was treated for Ebola at a hospital in Atlanta back in August. Doctors gave him and his coworker, Nancy Writebol, the experimental drug ZMapp. Both of them recovered from Ebola. But it still isn’t known [for certain] whether ZMapp helped them… The idea is that Brantly’s blood contains Ebola antibodies, which could help Sacra’s immune system fight off the virus.” Isn’t it wonderful? A physician gave some of his blood to help save the life of another physician.

Now consider that sin is deadly (Romans 6:23), and we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Unless a remedy is supplied, it will lead to eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). A Remedy has been offered and is available to all who will accept it. There is another physician – the Great Physician, Jesus – who gave His life and His blood to save us from sin. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

The blood of Jesus will cleanse and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10) and are baptized (immersed) into Christ (Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12). The blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).

The Great Physician gave up His life-giving blood to save us from the fatal “disease” of sin. Through His blood, we are cleansed. Through His blood, we have eternal life. Won’t you be washed in the cleansing blood of Jesus by trusting and obeying Him?

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