With You there is forgiveness,
that You may be reverenced.
Psalm 130:4

God's Solution to Our Sin Problem <- Previous  <- Next

Hopefully, you've read the two previous articles:  "Our Great God" and "Our Sin Problem".  If so, then you've seen how incredible God is and how worthy He is of our complete love and devotion.   You've also seen how incredibly sinful we are and how worthy we are of God's just judgment.  We shall now see God's incredible solution to our dreadful sin problem.  We really have two major problems because of our sin.  The first is that our sin makes us subject to the just wrath and judgment of God and the the second is that we are bound by our own sin for "whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" (John 8:34 NKJV).  We shall see that God has provided for both of these problems. 

Picture depicting the crucifixion of Jesus.

Part of a watercolor by James Tissot at Brooklyn Museum.

“Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”  -1 Peter 3:18

We would all consider it an outrage if a judge let a horrible criminal go simply "because he felt like being nice".   But it would be even more outrageous if the judge of the whole universe were to just ignore sin.  He would be totally unjust.   In God's court, all sin is criminal and must be dealt with appropriately.  Scripture says that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness"  (Heb 9:22 NIV) and "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23).  But no mere human could pay for any other human's sin because we are all sinners.  In Old Testament times, they sacrificed innocent lambs, bulls, and goats.  But scripture tells us that the death of these could not actually cleanse from sin (Heb 10:4).  They were just symbolic of the sacrifice that God Himself was someday going to make. (See Heb 9 & 10).  Even before the world was created, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had agreed that the Son would come to earth as a man and die a horrible death by crucifixion in order to pay for the sins of His people (1 Peter 1:20).  And all throughout Old Testament times, God gave prophecies and foreshadows that pointed towards a coming Savior.  In one such prophecy, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.  10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.  (Isa 53:4-9 ESV)

Then just over two thousand years ago, "when the fullness of time had come" (Gal 4:4), the virgin Mary become pregnant with Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, and an angel told Joseph, her fiancée: "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:20-21 ESV).  And thus the long awaited Messiah, Savior, and Son of God came into the world.  Then at approximately thirty years of age, Jesus began His public ministry and when the prophet John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him, he said: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29 ESV).   So John recognized Jesus as the one who had come to bear our sins.  And just as lambs had to be examined and found flawless before they could be used as a sacrifice, Jesus, the Lamb of God was tempted and tested in every way by the world and the devil and was found to be flawless, perfectly sinless in word, thought, and deed (Heb 4:15, 1 Peter 1:19).  Jesus told His disciples beforehand that He was going to die and rise again: "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again" (Mark 10:33-34 NKJV).  And then, just hours before He was crucified, at the last supper with His disciples, Jesus gave them wine, saying "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matt 26:27-28 ESV). 

And so even though Jesus was put to death by evil men, they were unwittingly doing just what God had planned all along (Acts 2:23-24).   And three days after He was crucified,  Jesus was resurrected just as He had said.  He then spent forty days coming and going among the disciples and was seen by multitudes before finally ascending back to heaven (Acts 1:3-11, 1 Cor 15:3-6).  Just before ascending to heaven, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until He sent the Holy Spirit in power upon them, and that they should then begin to proclaim the message of repentance and forgiveness throughout the world (Luke 24:45-49).   This message is often called the "gospel" which means "good news".  But it's actually great news because it tells us that even though we are sinners who are separated from God by our sin, God has made a way through Jesus Christ for us to have our sins forgiven and to have fellowship with Him.  Our sin need no longer keep us from God.  But this message also brings with it a command from God to repent and believe in Jesus.  When a man asked the apostle Paul and Silas how he could be saved, they said "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).  Later, the apostle Paul told a crowd in Athens:

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.  (Acts 17:30-31 ESV)

And Jesus Himself had said "unless you repent, you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3 ESV) and when some had asked Him what they should do in order that they might be doing the works of God, He told them "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent" (John 6:29 ESV).  To believe in Jesus means to trust in Him or to have faith in Him.  So we see that Jesus and His apostles preached both repentance and faith.  True Biblical faith and repentance are inseparable.  Some have said they are like the two sides of a coin.  To repent means to change one's mind.   As the term is used in the Bible though, it goes much deeper than that.  It is really a change of heart.  H.A. Ironside wrote that it is a change of heart regarding sin, self, and God.   It is recognizing ourselves as sinners, agreeing with God about our sin and about His solution, and turning from our sin unto God.   This turning unto God is faith.   It is trusting what Jesus has done on the cross as our only means of acceptance with God and trusting in God's goodness and ability to save us from our sin and submitting ourselves to Him as our Lord and Savior.   Just as it would be nonsense to say that we completely trust our doctor and yet refuse to take the medicine he prescribes, so it is nonsense to say that we trust in Jesus Christ and yet refuse to submit ourselves to Him.  Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6 ESV).  There is no way to be saved but through Jesus.   Many are familiar with John 3:16, but read it here along with the verses that follow it:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.   And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.   But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.  (John 3:16-21 ESV)

God's desire for us is that we would be saved by repenting and believing in His Son, Jesus.  Anyone who truly trusts in Jesus will be saved.  Those who do not trust in Him have already been condemned.  To refuse to trust in Jesus is the ultimate sin in God's sight.   God's Spirit urges us to trust in Jesus and Heb 10:29 says "Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?" (NKJV).   When we repent and trust in Jesus then God's Holy Spirit comes to live within our hearts (Acts 2:38).   And it is by His word and by His indwelling Spirit that God changes our hearts, setting us free from the power of sin, and performing the life-long process of making us like Jesus in character:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom 8:29 ESV)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Cor 3:17 ESV)

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:16-17,22-23 ESV)

Picture of a man praying.

Photo source: www.christianphotos.net

“whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved”  -Romans 10:13

So even for the worst of sinners, God has made all of the provision we need:  His Son's death is sufficient to pay for the worst of sins and His Spirit is mighty enough to free us from the worst of sins (1 Tim 1:15-16).  Hear the heart of God in some of His invitations and promises to those who come to Him through Jesus Christ:

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me;  hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant ...
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;  let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  (
Isa 55:1-3,6-7 ESV)

Jesus said to them,
"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."  John 6:35 ESV

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "
If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  John 7:37-39 ESV

whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  John 6:37 ESV

So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."  John 10:7-12 ESV

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matt 11:28-30 ESV

He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.  Heb 7:25 NKJV

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done."  Matt 16:24-28 ESV

When Jesus heard it, He said to them,
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." Mark 2:17 ESV

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Ps 34:8 ESV

whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.  Rom 10:13 ESV

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.  Ps 145:18 ESV

If you have never repented and trusted in Jesus, would you do so today? Scripture warns us, saying "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Heb 4:7 ESV).  Jesus has died so that we might come unto God.  Don't stay away.  Don't cling to your sin.  It will destroy you.  Come to Him just as you are, acknowledging your sin and your sinfulness, and looking to Him to save you.  Don't let the fear of not being able to live the Christian life keep you away.  There's absolutely no way you could live the Christian life if it were up to you, but it isn't.  If you truly come to Him and live in dependence on Him then God will enable you to live the Christian life (2 Cor 12:9).  And when you fail, He won't let you go, but will correct you as a loving Father (Heb 12:5-11).  Let nothing keep you from Him today!  If you need to talk with someone about this important matter then check out the contacts on the Help page.

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Related Links:
Faith and Repentance Inseparable by Charles Spurgeon
(an excellent sermon from 1862 that explains repentance and faith
by one of the world's best known preachers.
Or click Here to listen to the same sermon on SermonAudio.com)

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