Welcome back to Session #6. We just finished ‘God Commits to Handle Vengeance for You’. Now, the harder question: How Can God Forgive Anyone for Everything? And, at the same time as He forgives anyone for everything, He turns right around and says, “If you don’t forgive your brother from your heart, neither will I forgive you”. How on earth does that work? That’s what we want to try and answer in How Can God Forgive Anyone for Everything?
Part 1: How does God Personally Experience Our Disobedience?
That’s question one. Because forgiveness – right? -- happens because you were wounded. If you’re not wounded, why do you need to forgive? I wasn’t wounded today. I don’t need to forgive anybody today of something that happened today. So here’s the question underlying all of this. What makes God need to forgive? Answer: We wounded Him. We… I wounded Him. You wounded Him. So let’s go through the points here -- How Does God Personally Experience our Disobedience?
Look at the verse in Acts 17. Paul is preaching in Greece and he says, 26And He made,-- God made -- from one blood – Adam -- every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings -- where the different nations shall live; He decided that, they didn’t -- 27so that they should seek the Lord, -- that’s what His purpose was -- in the hope that they would grope for Him and find Him, though He is not very far from each one of us. -- Read the rest of that sentence -- 29Therefore, since we are the offspring of God…” What? Read that again, “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God…”
If you read in the Gospel of Luke, when God made Adam, he called him the Son of God -- not Jesus Christ the Eternal Son of God, but God, if I can say it this way, had a baby called Adam. Not through a woman, but through fashioning him out of dust, then breathing in the breath of life Himself. That’s what made him a son, because He put Himself into Adam. And then, when His spirit came into the dust -- when it joined together, that’s where our soul came from. Our soul is what brings these two things together.
So what are we? We are a spirit, who lives in a body, who has a soul. And God says, “I am the Father of all spirits”. So when you think about God forgiving, you must understand the truth of it is every human being is the offspring of God.
1. God reveals He is our Father and we are His Offspring
That’s what this says, “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God…” -- not the converted offspring of God, but we are the offspring of God. Good. That sets you up to understand the potential to be hurt.
Point #2: God views our disobedience as directly against Him Personally
Why? He’s our father. Number 2: God views our disobedience as directly against Him Personally.
And I used 4 illustrations of this through the Bible.
[2.1 God was Crushed] I’ll never forget finding Ezekiel 6:9, when God says, “I was crushed”. I was crushed by their adulterous heart which had departed from Me, and by their eyes which they play the harlot after other idols. When I read God saying, “I was crushed”, I had to put the Bible down. Not too many times in my life have I said I was crushed. You can only be crushed by somebody you love. Until you realize who you are to God, and how He feels about you, you don’t recognize how hard it is for God to forgive us.
[2.2 God was Grieved] Number 2, out of Genesis 6: Then the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Psalm 95: For forty years I was grieved with that generation… For 40 years. Long time.
[2.3 God’s Sympathy was Stirred] 2.3 Last sentence there -- My heart churns within Me; My sympathy – said God -- is stirred.
[2.4 God Deeply Desires Obedience] And God wants to bless us. In 2.4 God Deeply Desires Obedience -- 29 “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” What does He want? He wants wonderful things for His kids. Okay.
Point 3: God experiences our neglect – our neglect -- and rebellion with grief and Sorrow – grief and sorrow. So how does God experience our disobedience? Ah, as a loving Father whose children rebel at the deepest levels. He gets crushed.
Part #2: How Did God React and Judge Our Sin and Rebellion?
And we have a number of points about this -- 4 of them.
Number 1: God viewed us, because of our rebellion and sin against Him, as His Enemies.
Look at the passage beneath it. While we were still sinners. When we were enemies -- enemies. We chose to rebel against the almighty God, who is our heavenly Father, and He viewed us as enemies.
Number 2. Oh boy, it gets worse. Ephesians 2: 1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, -- now read these words carefully -- according to the prince of the power of the air, -- Wait, wait, wait. I walked…I walked according to the prince of the power of the air, which is Satan? Yes, I did. So did you -- the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. -- Now did all of us once walk according to Satan? Look at the rest of that verse -- 3among whom also we all, -- all; everybody -- once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and we were by nature -- read it to me -- children of wrath.
Next verse: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, -- read it to me -- but the wrath of God abides on him.” So how does God feel? Deeply.
Point 2: God felt wrath…God felt wrath toward us due to our willful Disobedience.
So God doesn’t have neutral feelings toward us. We are…we become His enemies; we walk according to His enemy called Satan; and He has wrath toward us because of it.
Now here’s a major crisis point -- Point 3. Genesis 2:16 And the Lord God commanded – Adam -- the man, saying,” Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
Therefore, number 3, God decreed from creation -- from the beginning of everything -- that disobedience results in the death Penalty.
Whoa. What is that? Can you imagine in war in which the general says, you know, “Go into battle and go this way,” and we run away? What do they do when the person disobeys the general? They shoot them. Here comes almighty God and says, “If you don’t do what I say, as your creator, you’re going to die”. How big of a deal was this to God? Very big. And how He must have felt great pain at the thought of His children dying over this.
4. God’s justice required the same sins result in the same penalty: Eternal Hell]
Number 4 talks about God’s justice. God’s justice required the same sins result in the same penalty -- or else He’s not just. Look at this for a minute. God is just. If this person does this sin and gets this penalty, justice means somebody else who does the same thing this person did must get the same penalty. All right, look at the verse beneath it.
“If God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into the chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.” What did the angels do? They sinned, and they’re cast into hell it says.
Matthew 25:41”Then He will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire -- Now read these words out loud with me -- prepared for the devil and his angels.
Look up here. Why did God make hell? Not for people. He made hell for the angels, which are also called sons -- they’re of a different kind, but they’re sons. And when they rebelled and did exactly the opposite of what He said, some of them were cast right into hell. So when we, who are His sons and daughters, rebel against Him, He gives the same judgment which is, “I’m casting you into the fire that I made for those angels, because you did the same rebellion they did”. Whoa!
Look at the next verse. And the dead were judged -- this is the final judgment there is -- according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Okay, what are we trying to deal with here? How did God react and judge our sin in rebellion? Answer: He viewed it as extremely severe, and He said, “If you decide to disobey me, you’re going to die. Not only are you going to die, but you are going to get the same judgment as another race, called angels, have gotten when they rebelled against me, and they got thrown into a place I made for them forever. And if you do the same sin they do, you’re going to go to the same place that they do”. Wow. Okay.
Now Part 3: How Did God Handle His Grief and Wounds by His Children? How did He handle them?
Well, number 1: God kept His holy heart open to all of us and sought a just Solution.
What do I mean by that? What do we do when we’re wounded? We close our heart. We get angry. We get bitter. We slander. We have resentment. We have hatred. What God did is He kept His heart open, even against what we did against Him, even though He had wrath and He had judgment. Now when God decrees this is the way it is, it is the way that it is. So, when a person says -- when you talk to them about whether or not they’re going to go to heaven or not, and you say to them, “Why do you think you’ll get into heaven?” -- they’ll say something like this, pretty typical, “Well, I’m not perfect but I’m not as bad as some people, and I try to do some good things from time to time”.
So, if you thought about it fully, it would mean when that person came before the Judge, and the Judge says to this person, “Did you ever sin and willfully rebel against Me?” “Well, yes I did.” “Do you remember the penalty that’s there from the beginning? And the wages of sin is death. It’s never changed. Do you remember the penalty?” “Yes.” “Do you remember it’s the death penalty?” “Yes.” “And did you, just like the angels, rebel against Me? And with My justice I sent them to hell, therefore, where are you going to be sent?” “I’m going to be sent to hell. But God…” “Yes.” “I’ve also done many good works. Please take that into account.” “Do you think, sir, that your good works will take care of the death penalty? The penalty wasn’t that you do more good things than bad things. The penalty is you die. And if you think I’m going to change that after all these years, I’m sorry.”
All your good works are worthless toward this penalty. Whoa. Therefore, everything that I’m hoping will make it up with God, doesn’t make it up. Why? The penalty is the same. You’re going to die. That’s why God said your good works are worthless. They’re not really worthless, but they’re worthless to save you from the death penalty. Therefore, who among us hasn’t sinned and hasn’t rebelled, and doesn’t have the death penalty hanging over our heads? And how do you fix that? You can’t. There is no fix. Once the glass is broken, it’s broken. If you sin once willfully against God, you got the death penalty.
You mean there’s no hope? No, there isn’t. Until you realize there is no hope, you’ll never understand what God did next. Because can I fix the death penalty? I can’t. If I run back and say, “I’m so sorry,” He says, “Yeah, but you willfully rebelled against Me many times and that’s the death penalty”. “Well, I did all these good things.” “That’s wonderful, but that’s still not the death penalty.” Until you realize, ah, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and we don’t have a hope left -- and God feels we are His enemies, and we walked according to the prince of the power of the air, and He felt wrath toward us, ah, and He judges us fairly. It’s not until you get to that point do you understand what God did next.
I’ll never forget when I was working over in Russia, and Ukraine, and Estonia, training many, many people. They asked me to speak at a big conference on the Black Sea. And I wanted to swim in the Black Sea. And I was there, and I came in after one of the sessions, and there was a bunch of people from the conference there and I was swimming. And there were 4 principals of schools that were talking over here -- it was for educators -- and they kind of worked their way down to me. And the lady said, “I have always wanted to talk to you”. “Why?” “It’s because of my father.” “Your father?” “My 90-year-old Jewish father. When you made those Bible courses for us on sin and salvation, you had a session about sin. And you didn’t give the answer to sin except we are lost and we have no hope”. She said, “My 90-year-old Jewish father was in the living room with all of us watching this. And when you taught those verses, do you know what my father did?” “No.” “He fell on his knees begging God to forgive him for his sins because he had no hope.” I said, “That’s what I wanted to happen.” “I know, because my father went to bed crying. And the next day he got up and said, ‘Are there any other of these videos?’ And he put the one in called Salvation, and when he found God’s solution to his hopeless circumstance,” she said, “my father fell on his knees and trusted Jesus and is born again. But had he not realized he didn’t have a hope, he never would have embraced salvation”. Until you realize how far we have fallen, and what it did to God’s heart – oh. Okay.
 Next point: God’s solution must pay the death penalty by a sinless Substitution.
Because God loved us even though in the midst of it all, how could He solve His own decree of eternal judgment, and death and hell? He had to find somebody who hadn’t sinned; who could die for everybody who had sinned. Now what you’re about to read is utterly shocking. I want you to think for a minute. How does a parent feel toward a child that’s a prodigal in the worst way? Do you stop loving them? No. Do you have great grief? Yes. Is your heart broken and crushed? Yes. That’s how the Father felt about all of us. But He had His own decree that you must die with the death penalty to solve.
Now look what took place in Isaiah 53 when God decided to intervene for us; and this is a prophecy about what happened with Jesus: And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; -- that’s Jesus -- He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, -- watch these words -- smitten by God. -- God smote Jesus -- and afflicted Him. But He, -- Jesus -- was wounded -- Why? -- He was wounded for our transgressions, -- What? Why was he wounded? For my…for my sins – and He was bruised for my iniquities; -- Now here’s the part I want you to see -- The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to his own way; -- I want you to underline this sentence -- And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
So what did God the Father do? Look up here. This is just shocking. God the Father, this is the Father -- we’re the offspring and the children -- God the Father turns to God the Eternal Begotten Son of God, Jesus, and said to Him, “I want you to do something for me. I want to trade you for them. I want them back, even what they’ve done to my heart. And the only way I can get them back is if I have a human being who never sinned and was willing to die for people who are my enemies. Will you go?”
And Jesus agreed to go. And when Jesus was on the cross, the Father, because He is God, had the right to say, “I’m taking all the sins of everybody that has ever lived from Adam to the last person that will ever live, and every sin that they ever have and do and will commit, and I’m putting them on Jesus as their substitution”. So in a sense, God said to the Son, “Come down. This person is supposed to die. Pull the person out of the way. You who are not supposed to die; I’m going to put their sins on You. And I’m going to make You die. So that payment is done, and that person doesn’t have to die. But You have to die. And because I’m God, I can do that for everybody at once”.
Therefore, all the sins I did in the past were on somebody else named Jesus 2,000 years ago. Whoa! And all the sins I may do tomorrow, which are my future, have already been put on Jesus, because my sins yesterday were 2,000 years before -- it’s all in the future. It’s all in the future. It’s only in our thinking. Two-thousand years ago He died for the sins of my past, my present, and the last sin I do before I die. It’s not that one is past, present, and future to Him. It’s all dead 2,000 years ago.
That’s why He said, “It is finished”. There’s nothing else you can do. Why? He paid it all. Every sin I had and will commit was paid for 2,000 years ago. Therefore, what can I do for my salvation? Answer: Nothing. Why not? It’s the death penalty. I either die for it or find somebody else who did the work of dying for me. Well, what can I do? I can do nothing. Yeah, you can’t save yourself -- never could. That’s why it’s a gift. It’s a gift. Not of works. You mean all my sins? Yes. What if I sin big? That big one is already on Him. Wow.
Now here’s the thing I want you to see. I am so inadequate of teaching this. I just feel inadequate. How does God feel? Because emotion is tied to forgiveness. How did God feel about asking His Son to die for people like you and me, and all the things we’ve done against God? What happens next in that passage I have thought over so many times in my lifetime.
Look at the last sentence on that page. Yet it pleased the Lord -- what? It pleased the Lord to bruise, to crush Jesus. What? God the Father, what was your attitude about putting the sins on Jesus and killing Him? Answer: It pleased Me to do that. Wait, how can it please any father to kill a son or a daughter? Answer: By what He got from killing Him. He got us. Whoa. How did God the Father…? It pleased the Lord to crush the Son. What’s that saying about how much God feels about you; that it pleased the Father to crush, to kill, Son?
The Jews didn’t kill Jesus. The Father killed Jesus. That’s what this text says. It pleased the Father to crush the Son. That word ‘crush’ means ‘to kill’. He has put Him -- not the Jews put Him to grief; He has put Him to grief -- when You, God the Father, makes His soul, Jesus, an offering for sin. The Jews didn’t kill Jesus. The Father killed Jesus. The Jews just happened to be there. Did you get this? Does not the Bible say this? The Bible says this.
For He made Him -- for God the Father made Him, Jesus the Son -- who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Now here’s the question: How could God the Father ever switch the Son, which He loved in ways we can’t imagine, for us? Wait until you hear this. This is just staggering.
3. God was “pleased” to send His Son to die because He loved us like Jesus.
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. --That’s us -- For scarcely would a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,-- rebelling, hating him -- Christ died for us.
Now, it’s not that we repented. Christ died while we were still enemies. Now here’s the part that you may never get over. I never have. And the question is: How much does God love me? How much does God love you?
Look at John. This is Jesus Christ saying this. “That the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Do you know what that verse says in the Greek language? It says this: That the world may know that the same amount of love that You have for Me as your Eternal Son is identical to the amount of love you have for your other sons and daughters. Which means, shocking as it may sound, the amount of love you think God the Father has for the Son is exactly the same amount of love the Father has for you. That’s why He traded one for the other. God doesn’t love Jesus more than you. He loves you the same as He loves Him. Are you ever precious in His sight or what?
3. God was “pleased” to send His Son to die because He loved us like Jesus.
Number 4 is the most important doctrinal one we have. God sent Jesus to satisfy His wrath -- His wrath, the Father’s wrath -- by full payment for everybody’s Sin.
Let me explain that to you. All right, let’s look at this. 9In this the love of God was manifested -- was shown -- toward us, -- How was the love of God shown toward us? -- that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, -- that’s how He proved He loved us. Why did He send His only begotten Son and how did that show us He loved us? -- that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son -- to be something. A very big theological term -- to be the propitiation for our sins. What is this? God loved us so much He sent His son. In this is love -- that He did this. Why? Because the Son took care of this for our sins. What is this? Propitiation is a big concept that is very, very simple. Propitiation means that all of your wrath is taken care of. That it’s enough.
Let’s say this session is over, we’re hopping into our cars outside, and you have just bought yesterday a brand new car. The car of your dreams. You saved for 5 years. It’s perfect. And you even park it a little bit away from everybody else’s car because it still smells new. And I am tired at the end of the day, and I look around the back and I didn’t see how close your car was. And, as I backed out, I heard this [scraping sound]. I’m thinking, “Oh, no, I really didn’t hit that car?” And there’s a big scrape all the way across your car. And let’s say I wasn’t a teacher. I was just somebody that was here today. And you come out and you say, “Look what you did to my car. Oh my goodness, my car is… Ah, why couldn’t you have watched where you were going?” And then you come to the lady whose car it is and you say, “You know, ma’am, this is 100% my fault. How much do you think it’s going to cost fix that scratch?” “Oh, that’s going to cost 6,000 grand to fix that.” “Okay. I don’t disagree with you. Here is 6,000 grand right now. I don’t want you to have to hassle with insurance. It’s all my fault. And how much time are you going to not have your car?” “Four days.” “That’s an irritation, isn’t it, ma’am? How about another 3,000 grand just so that you don’t have to waste your…? And for me ruining your day today, how about 5,000 more grand for you?” You should see her smile. I mean it. She likes this story. And she’s hoping, “Please leave that money right there.” Yeah, but what happened? She’s pleased. I did a propitiation on her. No, no. It’s by grace you receive this money. And don’t give it back to me and don’t give it back to my wife. It’s just for you.
So, the wrath of God – really, really filled with wrath -- is going to send you to hell for this. Jesus is here. And God the Father -- all the things that made Him filled with wrath is poured on Jesus for everyone. And when Jesus died, the Father says, “It’s enough. It’s enough. You paid for it all”. That’s propitiation -- to be the propitiation for our sins. How do you know when propitiation is over? When the person says it’s enough. I’m happy now.
So is God still wrathful about you? He can’t be. Can He discipline you? Yes. But can He have wrath? No. Why not? Every single sin that I have, and I do, and I will do, His Son already paid for before I was born. Whoa! Come on, let your heart open with this. God has no more wrath. And He’s satisfied. And then He also not only forgives all of our sins, but He gives us Christ’s righteousness at the same time. And He adopts us. “Come on, you’re forgiven now. I’m adopting you not just as My offspring, but as My sons and daughters into My family.” That’s why He can do that. You don’t deserve that. You’re forgiven so He can do that.
Now I was teaching this idea to a man once, and he said, “I don’t know if it’s enough”. “You don’t know if what’s enough?” “I don’t know if Christ’s death was enough. How do I know it was enough for me?” He said, “I’ve done a lot of wrong things”. I said, “Would you like the answer?” “Yes. Is there one?” “Yes.”
The Bible says that He was raised because of our justification. Now what does that mean? Well, the Bible is very clear that no evil or sin can come into heaven. So, when God put the sins of everybody on Him, the big miracle wasn’t that He died for my sins; the big miracle is would God let Him back in heaven? Because all the sins were on Him. And, if that wasn’t sufficient, then He’d still have the sin on Him and the Father wouldn’t let Him in.
The great victory of Christianity isn’t that Christ died for my sins; it’s that Father accepted His death for my sins and took Him back. The hope isn’t the death of Christ; it’s the resurrection of Christ. And it proves the propitiation has been taken care of. Because He can’t have anybody’s sin from any person, in any time, in any age left over or else the Father wouldn’t let Him in. That’s why it pleased the Father to kill the Son to get us back. Mmmm. Isn’t He magnificent? Oh! I’ve not recovered from what I’m teaching you.
Part 4: How Did God Provide for Man to Receive His Forgiveness?
He paid for our sins, but how do I get that?
Point #1: God paid the penalty through Jesus and offered that Sacrifice as a Gift. It’s a gift. Because I can’t do anything for it.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Number 2. I want you to star Number 2. God cannot permit man to pay the death penalty by good Works.
That’s why, when everybody says, “I’m trying as best as I can, and God is fair to let me into heaven”, are so tragically wrong. It’s the death penalty. It’s not good works. And He will not. The nicest person in the world has rebelled against God many, many times, and he deserves, or she deserves, the death penalty.
3. God only requires faith in Christ’s substitutionary death for Salvation.
What do you mean? For God so loved the world that He gave -- you know this verse -- His only begotten Son, that whoever -- what’s the word? -- believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Look at the verse beneath it, John 1:12 “But as many as received Jesus -- as their savior -- to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
What is this saying? The Bible teaches very clear that God put all the sins of every person on Jesus. Therefore if somebody ever said to you,” Jesus didn’t die for everybody”, they are pulling out verses of Scripture and saying, “I’m cutting them out because I don’t like that”. It says that in black and white. He died for all the sins of all the people. Okay. He paid for all the sins of all the people.
Then why doesn’t everybody go to heaven? Because there isn’t anybody that Jesus didn’t die for. What a great question. Because God wants us to have to understand what He did when He sent Jesus, and accept the fact -- this called repentance. You can’t be saved without repentance. What does that mean? That means up to this point in my life, I thought if I could do enough good works, God would say, “You’re not too bad, son, come on in”, therefore I did my own salvation. But, because the death penalty doesn’t let me do my own salvation, I have to change my mind. That’s what repentance means. It means to change how you think. It means ‘I repent’. I used to think I could save myself by the good things I did. Now I change my mind; I repent and I realize I cannot save myself. Whoa, that’s repentance.
But unless somebody who is sinless dies in my place and pays for my sin, I will go to hell -- period. I have no hope. That’s repentance. And all the Father says is, “I love you so much. I love you the same as I love Jesus. And I want you back with Me forever. But you must have zero pride facing Me. I’m doing this to you because I love you, and because my Son loves you. And what I want from you is one thing. Will you accept His death as your replacement? That’s what I want”. You have to humble yourself and say, “I can’t save myself. I cannot do it, and I therefore have no faith in myself anymore. I can’t. I can’t. It’s impossible. I’m lost. But I put my faith in the only solution that there is. I believe not just in Jesus as a person; I believe what He did for me is sufficient. It’s propitiation -- the complete payment for all my sins. I believe He died for all my sins and all my sins have been paid for. There’s no more risk of a sin I commit in the future, because all of my sins were 2,000 years after He died.
Therefore, I have to humble myself and say, “I want the gift of Christ’s death for me”. I have to believe in His death as my only way for salvation. And when I say to God, “I am lost. I deserve hell. I do. And I have no hope. And I have a hard time believing that You loved me even one/one millionth as much as You loved Jesus. But You told me that you do, and that’s why you sent your Son to take my place. I hereby accept Your gift of Christ’s substitiutionary death for me and the shedding of His blood for my sins as the only way I can have eternal life”.
When a person understands that and says that to God in their own way, God says, “It’s done. I’m giving you the gift.” The gift is waiting there, but you have to take it. You have to take it. It’s a gift, but you have to take it. As many as received Him -- that’s the gift. What’s the gift? His death is your gift. What do you have to do? Take it. I accept your death for me. And it’s all I need.
Now many in this room have understood that, and many in the room haven’t. You’ve understood parts of things, but not really of how He felt about us and what happened, and what He did, and how much He loves you. Therefore, if you’ve never, ever taken the gift… You’ve been going to church for a long time, who knows? Maybe you’ve never gone to church. This is the time you take the gift.
How do I do this with a man? I typically say to him, “Do you understand this?” “Yes.” “Do you have a way out, except by Jesus?” “No, I don’t.” “Are you going to hell?” “Yes, I am.” “Do you want to?” “Hell, no.” That’s what a man would say. And I would say to him, “Do you want to hereby put your full trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus and trust Him as your only way?” “Yes.” “Will you receive Him as your savior then?” “Yes.” “Will you shake on it?” Right then. That’s how it happens. It’s not the shaking. He’s agreeing, “Yes, I’m receiving Christ”.
So, is there somebody here that’s never really figured this all out and is saying, “You know, I want to shake on this too this morning”? Maybe someone at one of the sites around, just says, “You know, this salvation thing finally makes sense to me. He did die for me. It is enough. He paid for it all. And I’ve never really received Him and said, ‘I want the gift myself’. I’ve always had to try hard, and I can’t’ do it by trying hard”. So if that’s you, I want to shake your hand right here. Who needs their hand shaken today? You mean right now? Yes. Who needs their hand shaken? Anybody? I know there is. Anybody? Somebody back here? Come on down, just shake my hand. That’s good. Let’s give him a hand. Come on down.
What’s your first name? Will you hereby stop trying to trust yourself and accept Jesus as your personal savior? “Yes.” Do your receive Him? “Yes.” Then you are born again, and I’ll see you in heaven bud. Let’s give him a hand. Somebody else? Some other lady, maybe? Yes, ma’am, let me come on over here. And I can reach across the table if you don’t mind. What’s your first name? [Gives name.] Nice to meet you. Do you hereby repent of trusting your own good works? “I do.” And do you put your full faith in Jesus? “I do.” Do you accept Him as your Savior? “I do.” Then you’re going to see Him in heaven, too. Let’s give her a hand.
Is that easy believism? That’s what I keep hearing about. Is it easy believism? Wait a minute, who did the work? Did I do the work or did He do the work? He did all of the work. What’s left for me to do? Nothing. Nothing? Nothing. So when you don’t do anything, how hard is it? It’s not hard. People are trying to add works and faith. Salvation is by faith in what somebody else did for me, and it is easy to believe if you humble yourself and realize how much God loved you and died so He could be with you again. It’s meant to be easy. I’ve led masses of people to the Lord over the years.
Anybody else? Those of you who are deans; when you take a break, make sure you talk about this with your people. Is there anybody else who is just sitting there saying, “Hmm”? Don’t be afraid. All right. What’s your first name? Nice to meet you. Do you hereby repent? “I do.” Do you accept Christ’s death and resurrection? “Yes, I do.” And you receive Him as your Savior? “Yes.” Ah, I can feel that from here. We’ll see you in heaven, as well. Bless you. Very good.
Ah, I think there’s one other person. I may be wrong, but I don’t think I am. Somebody who is shyer, and you feel glued to your chair, I hereby break the glue. If you want to do this, I’d love to shake your hand. So, is there somebody else who is just saying…? Come on, don’t wait. Don’t catch me later in the hall. Catch me now. Somebody right here. Anybody else? Boy, I can feel this strong. Anybody else right here?
Good for you, sir. What’s your name? Nice to meet you, Alex. Do you hereby put your full and complete trust in Jesus Christ? “Yes.” Do you believe He died for every single sin you’ve ever done and every one you’ll ever do tomorrow? “Yes.” And you don’t have to worry about that. He has no more wrath toward you. And He loves you as much as Jesus. Just think about that. Wow. And if you were the only person here, He’d have sent His Son to grab you. Do you receive Him and accept salvation? “Yes.” Then we’ll see you with everybody else. Nice to see you. Very, very good.
Let’s finish up this session. Let’s go back to that page.
Part 5. Here’s the question: How Can God Forgive Me for All My Sins and Yet Not Forgive Me?
Now we’re going to answer that. Matthew 6: 14For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I made a chart here of two columns. On the left-hand side is Type 1 of Forgiveness, God’s Forgiveness…Forgiveness for -- and the fill in on that word is Redemption -- that we can be saved…we can be saved.
But on the right-hand column it’s a different kind of Forgiveness, Type 2 -- it’s not God’s forgiveness; it’s Our Forgiveness. And the fill in is Forgiveness for Relationship.
Now, I want to go down through this quickly and fill in a couple of words, and then we’ll be done. Take a look at this.
Number 1, on the left-hand side, God’s forgiveness for redemption is a universal problem for everybody -- for all mankind. You’ve got to accept Christ for your sins. On the right-hand side, it’s a universal problem for all believers.
Number 2: The redemption is the focus on life after death. If you don’t find God’s forgiveness for salvation, then after death you’re going to have hell. Whereas here -- our forgiveness for relationship – the focus is on life before I die.
So let me see if I can explain this before going any further. There’s two kinds of forgiveness here. One is the salvation type of forgiveness, where I bring my sins before Him and Christ died for them and I put my faith in Christ’s death and resurrection. The Father then does over 15 miracles. And one of those miracles is He forgives all of my sins; and He gives me a gift called Eternal Life; and when I die, the door is open in heaven, and I come right through; because my sins have been paid for.
But, once I am saved, I have a choice of how I’m going to get along with God. And, if I choose to sin in a major way, and not forgive, look what He’s going to do. He’s already forgiven my sins so I can enter into heaven; but He’s saying, “You’re going to pay for this sin right now. I’m going to discipline you. I don’t lock heaven for you, because all the sins to enter into heaven have been forgiven -- all of them; including that one. But if you commit the sin, you’re going to have to stop, because I’m going to put torture on you, and I’m going to stop forgiving these sins”. That’s how the torture happens. And these are things that have to do with my relationship before I die. This is everything to do with after I die. Were my sins forgiven or not? If they weren’t forgiven, I don’t get to go in. This has everything to do with from the point before I die; and He will discipline me to bring me back to obedience. That’s what this forgiveness is about. Does that make sense to you? Okay, good.
3: The problem on the left is requirement of the death penalty. The problem on the right is the requirement for our forgiveness on earth.
4: God’s compassion for us; right-hand side our compassion for others and ourselves.
5: Will God forgive us? Will we forgive others and ourselves? Is this becoming clearer to you? Okay.
6: This is a fill-in. Saved from torment in Hell. What’s the right- hand side? Saved from torment on Earth. That’s right, you’re getting the difference.
7: Torment never stops after death if your sins aren’t forgiven. Torment immediately stops upon forgiveness. Isn’t that nice?
Number 8: Faith in Christ’s substitutionary death. Obedience to God’s forgiveness requirement. I have to forgive.
Number 9: “Believe in Christ’s death and you shall be saved”. “Forgive and you shall be set free.”
10. By Christ’s work on the cross for our forgiveness. By my work of forgiveness of you.
Number 11: Christ’s gift to everyone. Our gift to anyone.
Number 12: The wages of sin is Death. But the wages of sin of unforgiveness now is called Discipline. One is on earth as a child of His. One has to do with your eternal life.
Let’s read the last verse there. 9In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 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.
Ah, that’s good. Kind of step back and think about what you’ve been learning in this session about how much He felt love for you; crossed the issue of being crushed; eventually we became His enemies; He had great wrath toward us, but He missed us terribly. And He, at the beginning, gave the penalty of the death penalty, and then He finds somebody who did not sin, therefore, didn’t deserve the death penalty. And He asked them for the great trade; sent Christ to become a human who did not sin; then He, as God, put the sins of everybody on Him, and Christ paid the death penalty for everybody.
How do we know it was enough? Because of two words: propitiation and justification.
Propitiation means this: God’s wrath was fully satisfied. He didn’t need anything more than Christ’s death -- because the penalty was death and Christ paid for it. How do we know it was enough? Because God let Him back in heaven. He died to pay for sins. The question would be: Did He pay enough for the sins? And the answer is ‘yes’.
The next issue is the simpliest one: How do I get in on this? It’s a gift that’s setting on the counter. How do I get the gift? You’ve got to walk over and take it by receiving Him as your Savior, and saying, “I can’t save myself. Thank you for dying for me”, and you’re given the gift at that moment, and you have it; and that door never closes.
The Bible doesn’t say that when you die you get eternal life. It’s when you believe; you are given eternal life. That’s when you get it. Later on, if you continue to have unforgiveness and you sin, God will disciple you as a Father to a child; He will deliver you to be tormented; He will not forgive you for your sins in this period time. It doesn’t affect this, but it affects your relationship to Him. Is that clear? For the people that came to know Christ today, this is the most important day of your life.
Do you mind if I spend a couple minutes just with you? We’ve been watching an audience in South Africa. But now it’s time to talk heart-to-heart, because even more important than forgiving others and yourself, is one other person, that you somewhere along your life have wounded by some of your attitudes or actions. Maybe we call those sins. Sometimes during your lifetime, maybe even yesterday… You know who I’m talking about, don’t you? His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. And He desperately wants to forgive you, not just for some of the things that you’ve done against Him, but for every single one of them. He wants to wipe your slate clean.
You see, He died for every single one of your sins; and now offers you, personally, the greatest gift of all time – the gift of salvation, the gift of the forgiveness of your sins, the gift of eternal life in heaven with Him and all the other people who sometime in their life they knelt down in their heart before Him asking for forgiveness, confessing their sins, and placing their faith in only one thing, only one person – not themselves, not their good works, but in somebody else – in Jesus Christ, who died for their sin, and then resurrected into heaven as proof that it was full payment for their sins.
Well, have you done that yet? If not, my goodness, what are you waiting for? What are you really waiting for? Why don’t you come running into the arms of Jesus Christ, literally, and humble yourself, and confess your sins, and accept Him as your Savior and Lord? So, in a minute, I want you to bow your head with me. You know, I don’t care if you’re watching this in a mega-church of 5,000 people, or in a small group somewhere, or with your family, or maybe just by yourself on your phone or your laptop. In a minute I want you to bow your head with me and pray along with me. You know, the words…there’s nothing special about the words, but what I’m trying to communicate.
And, if you already know Jesus Christ, then how about you join with me and just whisper the words along with me kind of as a reaffirmation? But, if this is your moment of salvation, then can I say it to you straightforward, “Heaven has been waiting for you”. So, let’s bow our heads. And, if you know Christ, just whisper these words along with me. And, if you don’t, why don’t you pray them for the first time?
‘Dear God, I come before You, and I confess my sins to You. I have sinned many times in different areas. I believe that I am unable to save myself. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. It is only through His shed blood that I can find Your forgiveness. Therefore I put my full faith, my full trust, in Jesus Christ. And I ask Him to be my Savior and Lord. I accept His forgiveness of salvation. Thank You for dying for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.’
Well congratulations, and welcome to the family of God. I look forward to meeting you. I don’t care where you are around the world; I want to meet you someday, somewhere in the eternity of heaven on those streets of gold the Bible talks about. I want you to come on up and say, “You know, I was one of those people who not only forgave other people myself, but I accepted God’s forgiveness for me through Christ”.
But I want you to do something for me. I want you to tell someone else…tell some other believer in Jesus, and tell… If you’re going to church, tell your pastor. And, if not, go to church. Find a good Bible teaching, preaching church where they love Christ, and preach the Scriptures. Tell the pastor, “Dr. Bruce told me to tell you that I invited Jesus into my life”, and let them encourage you. They’re going to celebrate. They know the significance of what happened.