Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
In this series, we are studying those things that God says are true about Believers – that is, those who have experienced authentic regeneration of the heart (“born again”) through repentance of sin, and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let’s review what we have learned so far:
- Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
We discovered that “all things” and the promises, declaration and truths that come from God. Whatever He says He will do, it is possible for them that truly believe. What God declares, whatever is true about God’s nature, becomes possible for the Believer. We also learned that this belief is faith which consists of two parts – undoubting belief that God is, and does, what He says He is and does; and that God is the focus of our belief. We can have true belief in the wrong thing; and, we can believe in God, but have doubt, which betrays a lack of understanding who God is. Faith is true belief focused on the right Person.
Remission Of Sins
Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJV)
True Believers are the only humans whose sins will be forgiven. [Note: this is not a message about salvation, baptism, eternal security, etc.; so it is not necessary to write me in this context and tell me something I left out or didn’t clarify about “how to be saved”. This lesson assumes true salvation has occurred.]
“Remission of sins”…. have you ever thought about what that means, or is it just a “churchy” phrase used in Sunday school? Think about the fullness of what it means. Remission carries the following ideas:
- to lay aside (a mood or disposition) partly or wholly
- to let (as attention or diligence) slacken : relax
- to release from the guilt or penalty of
- to refrain from exacting
- to cancel or refrain from inflicting
- to give relief from (suffering)
- to restore or consign to a former status or condition
- to abate in force or intensity
How often we quickly fly past what it means to be forgiven, especially in societies where affluence and comfort are the rule. Remission of sins (forgiveness) is something we get done as an accomplishment, one of those important things to take care of like getting a college degree. We would do well to consider all that God has “remitted” for us as Believers, realizing that Jesus paid the price for it.
All your sins, and mine, have been laid aside in whole. The condemnation you deserve for all those lies, deceit and manipulation has been relaxed and removed by God. You have been released from the penalty you deserve for the lust and impurity that you have committed. God will not exact a penalty from you for all the times you’ve cheated and stolen. The Lord has cancelled the planned and deserved punishment that was awaiting you for blaspheming Him through profanity or casual use of His name. The Lord has granted you relief from the suffering and eternal condemnation that awaited you for your wickedness. God has restored you from being a lost sinner outside His family, to be a righteous adopted heir of eternal life. The Lord has removed the intense punishment and condemnation that would have been yours the moment you died and faced Him.
The remission of sins is much deeper and comprehensive than our typical conversation reveals. It’s one thing to say “my sins are forgiven”; it’s another to STOP, and actually consider all that it means. The remission of sins IS the essence of what salvation is all about. No sin can be in God’s presence. Therefore, God had to provide a way that ALL sin could be removed in order for us to be able to live with Him, in His house, for all eternity.
Remission of sins is ONLY for the true believer
who has obediently responded to
the Gospel (salvation on God’s terms).
The remission of sins are NOT for:
- The Religious – religion will not get you remission of sins. There are countless millions who have fallen for the popular idea that you just need to “pick a religion and faithfully practice it.” Obviously, this is an attempt to earn remission of sins by your own effort. Instead of being forgiven because of belief in Christ, the religious person thinks they DESERVE forgiven because of their own religious merit or affiliation. You can give all you have to the poor; work day and night to help others and sacrifice your entire life in religious service, and you will be no closer to earning forgiveness than is the vilest reprobate.
- The Good – it is a growing trend to teach that being “good” is the way to salvation and personal wholeness. Myriads of books and public personalities (ie, Schuller, Dr. Laura, Dr. Phil, Oprah, many churches, etc) proclaim that being good is sufficient to be accepted by their version of “god” (a “higher power”). However, long before being good started being proclaimed in modern times, the “religion of morality” has been a favorite of humans.
Ask any person you know (with the exception of mature Christians), “are you a good person?” and they will say “sure, I try to be.” A vast majority also consider this sufficient reason to be pardoned by God, and accepted in to heaven. (Try it! Ask 10 people today if they are “good” and ask them if being good is what gets you to heaven).
Learn to administer the following simple test that will effectively show someone they are not “good” at all. Remember, you have to first reach the human INTELLECT with God’s Law to convince someone they are in need of being saved. Then the HEART is ready to hear the Good News about Jesus. We often avoid the hard work and difficulty of the first step, to move to the “feel good benefits” of the second.
Quickly show someone they are not “good” and face the danger of standing before God as “guilty” by asking these simple questions… “So you’re a good person you say? You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments right? They are simple and easy to understand. Let’s see if you are ‘good’ when compared to the 10 commandments”:
- Have you ever lied? Even once? What does that make you? (be persistent until they actually say “liar”; don’t allow them to sugarcoat it by saying “that makes me human” or “just little white lies”). One lie makes you a liar.
- Have you ever used God’s name in vain (profanity or casual use like “oh my god”)? God calls that blasphemy, a very serious sin.
- Have you ever, even once, lusted after someone? Jesus says that is “adultery in your heart” and is the same as actually committing the act.
- Have you ever stolen anything, no matter how small? Or stolen from your employer by not working hard? What does that make you?
“So by your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer at heart, right? Does this sound like you are a ‘good person’? Do you think you are good enough to tell God ‘I deserve to be in heaven, you must let me in’?”
At this point, the person is convicted of their sinfulness by their own words and admissions (intellect), and are now fertile ground (the heart) to plant the seed of the Gospel which alone can make them acceptable to God.
- Everyone – it is a favorite human justification to simply believe that “all roads lead to God”. It is “judgmental” and “intolerant” to believe otherwise (according to the world). Christianity IS judgmental and intolerant. (notice I didn’t say “Christians”….) By its very nature, since Christ alone is the sole source of salvation, Christianity condemns and judges all those who reject God. Christianity judges, not Christians. It is not our job to walk around condemning the lost world; we should be convicting them with God’s law. It is not our job as Christians to be intolerant of the lost, but to embrace them by proclaiming the message of salvation to all. We ARE intolerant and judgmental about participating in, or condoning sin, but we are NOT intolerant and judgmental towards the “lost sheep” who are in need of a Shepherd. Intolerance towards sin; compassion towards people. Judgment against unholiness, patience with struggling sinners.
Remission of sins is given to EVERYONE. It is available to everyone (John 3.16), but is only granted to those who respond to and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do no lost person any favors by informing them of any less.
Remission of sins is the single most important thing that is JUST for believers in Christ. Everything else is secondary to this one great truth that is the essence of salvation and the key to being restored to an eternal relationship with the Creator.
Lord God, Help us to understand what it really means to have our sins remitted. Help us to grasp the depth of this gift, and allow it to change our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: Remission of sins is exclusive to Believers in Christ. No religion, no good works… nothing will take away yours sins other than Jesus Christ. Forgiveness from all your sins is an exclusive gift just for Believers.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?