Have you ever forgiven a loved one who wronged you and said they were sorry? It’s difficult, but to save the relationship, often we find it in our heart to forgive – especially if the other person is sincerely sorry. But how about the person who wrongs you and is not sorry? Would they be dead to you? Should that relationship be pursued? Should they be shown forgiveness? Actually, it happened to each of us … about 2,000 years ago.
Separated from God
All of us, at one time or another, chooses wrong over right: to lie, steal, curse, or to be resentful, bitter, or jealous of another person. Because we are made in God’s image and created to be in relationship with Him, when we violate His character, we separate ourselves from Him and sever the relationship. Still, as a loving Father, God wants to restore this relationship and is willing to forgive even when we’re not sorry. Romans 5:8 says,
“God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God did not wait for us to come to Him; for God knew that left to ourselves, it would never happen.
“God looks down from Heaven to see if there are any who seek after God…[but] no one seeks for God…they have all turned aside” (Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:11)
God came to earth on a rescue mission
And so, before the beginning of time, God arranged a rescue mission to extend forgiveness to those who didn’t know to ask.
2,000 years ago, the Son of God willingly left the glory of Heaven and came to earth, wrapped in human flesh, to become the complete sacrifice for sin. Yet, when we look at the Cross, we often forget that Jesus suffered something far greater than physical death: He suffered spiritual separation from God the Father so we wouldn’t have to. Jesus laid bare His greatest agony when He cried out,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
The eternal God-head was torn apart for us. The penalty for sin is not the Cross; that’s the symbol. The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God, and only the eternal God could pay that price.
The greatest gift ever given is not God’s forgiveness that is now available to us, but the LIFE of God’s Son through whom it was made possible.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
The person who looks upon God’s Son who, as He was being nailed to the Cross, said,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)
…. and turns away, will not spend an eternity regretting his sin – that’s done and paid for. Rather, he will be left to agonize over all the ways God tried to reach out to him, reveal Himself to him, and demonstrate His love in an endless pursuit to have a relationship with him — that God even decided he was worth dying for — but he turned away … however:
“To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12).
He Opened the Gates of Heaven
On that glorious resurrection morning, the tomb was empty. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, restoring Him to His rightful throne in Heaven, demonstrating God’s complete satisfaction that the penalty for all sin, for all people, for all time, has been paid in full.
God wants to restore a relationship with you. Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?
If you are unsure whether you have placed your faith in Jesus, why not accept His marvelous gift of salvation right now? Romans 10:9 promises, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” If you believe Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins, and that God the Father accepted His sacrifice and raised Him from the dead, you can give your life to Jesus Christ today by praying and asking Him to forgive your sins and inviting Him to be the Lord of your life from this day forward.
You can choose to pray a simple prayer something like this:
Father, thank you for loving me and sending your beloved Son to pay the penalty for my sin. Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sin and was raised to life again. I am sorry for living my life apart from You and choose today to follow You for the rest of my life. Please come into my heart and make me the person You created me to be. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer, write your prayer down with today’s date. Then share your news with a trusted friend or church leader who can help you take the next steps in your journey as a follower of Christ.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
What love! What a gift! What an amazing God!
Shadia is a passionate Bible teacher, author and speaker who has a heart for seeing lives transformed by the power of God’s Word. She holds a master’s in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary and is author of several books and Bible studies.