And so, the believer rests in this truth, as stated later in this same chapter: “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
The Judge was rendered satisfied at the point of initial belief in Christ. The Scriptures are clear about this. The Apostle John declares: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Glorious truth!
But, day by day the sensitive Christian desires to be close to Him as Father. And so daily confession and forgiveness are necessary (John 1:9). Experientially His wisdom dictates that evil be detested in an ongoing and growing way. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil..." (Proverbs 8:13). And so, we are instructed to take up our cross and crucify the sinful urges that arise from one's inner self. Put them to death! While suppressing the inner proclivities we also fight against external solicitations. We must say NO to the world’s encroachments. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”
This ongoing experience is costly. It hurts! Listen to Scripture: "Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin..." (1 Peter 4:1). Jesus clearly said, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39). A cross is an instrument of great pain. Fighting the good fight requires a willingness to suffer for the One who suffered for me.
I now understand the Apostle John’s words when he said, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:18-22).
Once a small boy threw a baseball and broke a neighbor’s window. The little one shied as the neighbor burst out in a fury of anger. He ran to his dad and explained what happened. The daddy went to bat for his son. He went to the neighbor’s house, rapped on the door and, to a still seething man, gingerly opened the discussion. The father did two things: First, he offered to pay for the broken window. In fact, he said he would repair it himself. He would do so at once. Then, he talked kindly about his son and asked for understanding for the youngster. The boy confessed his wrong. At once the seething disappeared, forgiveness was granted and the once offended man even offered a ready hug for the lad. Notice this: The offense tangibly was taken care of. The dad offered to pay and fix the window. And, on a personal level, communication was opened, forgiveness sought and granted and emotions of satisfaction flowed.
If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]” (1 John 1:7-9).
Do make special note how ‘forgiveness’ is intermingled with the atoning work of Jesus Christ. There can be no forgiveness by a Holy God apart from His being assuaged by blood sacrifice. Geoffrey Wilson says, “The Bible knows nothing of mere pardon. There can be no pardon except on the ground of satisfaction of justice.” And Oswald Chambers clearly states, “It is shallow nonsense to say God forgives us because He is love. The only ground upon which God can forgive us is the cross.” Let us sing with P.P. Bliss:
“Man of sorrows!” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Guilty, vile and helpless we,
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement! Can it be?
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Dr. Dick Christen