“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”
Jesus Christ, the God-Man, committed the most scandalously humble act in human history: He made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born as a man who was obedient to the point of death, slaughtered by His own creation (Philippians 2:7-8). Try to wrap your mind around that one.
Shamefully, man was so proud to have done it. Sin blinded our eyes to the beauty of this Christ. And those who hated Him cried, “Crucify Him!!!” again and again. They would not settle for any ordinary death; it had to be one of intense suffering and shame. As Jesus, an innocent man, hung there, He opened his lips not to curse his oppressors but to plead with the Father on their behalf.
THE ROOT OF MAN’S NEED
I love A.W. Pink‘s words on this:
The first important lesson which all need to learn is that we are sinners, and as such, unfit for the presence of a Holy God. It is in vain that we select noble ideals, form good resolutions, and adopt excellent rules to live by, until the sin-question has been settled. It is of no avail that we attempt to develop a beautiful character and aim to do that which will meet with God’s approval while there is sin between him and our souls. Of what use are shoes if our feet are paralyzed. Of what use are glasses if we are blind. The question of the forgiveness of my sins is basic, fundamental, vital. It matters not that I am highly respected by a wide circle of friends if I am yet in my sins. It matters not that I have made good in business if I am an unpardoned transgressor in the sight of God. What will matter most in the hour of death is, Have my sins been put away by the Blood of Christ?
THE GROUNDS OF FORGIVENESS
Every single one us us is born dead in our sins (Ephesians 2) and without life. There is no one perfect. Because of this sinful nature, you and I cannot justify ourselves before God. We can try, but we will fall short, every one of us. And guess what. God would still be a good God if He left us in this state, ushering each of us to suffer under his righteous wrath. The only ground on which a Holy God will forgive sins is this: One had to satisfy His good and righteous wrath in our place. And One did. His name is Jesus of Nazareth. Through Him, we have the forgiveness of sins.
“IT IS FINISHED.”
Divine forgiveness is complete forgiveness. It is not half-hearted. It is not in need of additional labor or recompense. We don’t need to purify in purgatory. We don’t have anything to add to this free gift of salvation. It is finished.
If you are reading this as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, then rejoice! Rejoice in the forgiveness of God which you have received through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
You are completely and eternally forgiven!
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,t he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.