a Close Second
cannot think of a greater need for sinners than to
(and know) the forgiveness of God. Man’s
greatest problem is sin. No
problem is greater, none. David
needed it, and David knew it. “Blessed
is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Ps. 32:1). David was so blessed. Paul
quotes this wonderful truth in Romans 4. Paul was blessed as well. It is wonderful to know that our sins are
forgiven. We find forgiveness
only in Christ, and only at the cross. It is the intersection where truth and mercy met in time and make a
way for all eternity (Ps. 85). There, at that crossroad of the cross grace took my place and
Jesus died in my stead. I am
still sobered at the sight. My
greatest need was met at Calvary.
As the greatest commandment (Love God) is followed by
a second (love man) the first and greatest need is followed by a second. If the first and greatest need is forgiveness, then our second
greatest need is to forgive. Men
have as much trouble with the second as they do with the first.
I think however, the proof of the one is evidenced in the
Jesus told a story of a man who after experiencing
the forgiveness of a debt grabbed another man by the throat and demanded
payment for a much lesser debt. This
behavior was so outrageous that the ungrateful man was thrown into prison. There are many who claim they have been to Calvary and yet they are
quick to seize, by the throat, any who “owe” them a debt, or apology. The forgiveness of Salvation is so large and their willingness to
forgive so little, one must wonder if they have ever discovered how great
a debtor they were or are.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matt. 6:14-15.
Faith is required to see the second need as much as
the first. When we see
ourselves as hell deserving sinners pardoned (like some Barabbas) at the
eleventh hour, we could hardly believe it. Never for a moment did we think we were worthy, but on the basis of
Christ’s word, we knew were saved. Likewise, it is only the grace we found at the cross that prepares
us to pass through a world filled with other sinners who will sin against
us and we against others. Real
faith trusts the God of grace to be our shield and defender.
Only God can forgive sin.
Only the blood of Christ can blot out our transgressions. We must
forgive because we are forgiven. Some smart person thought to put an
eraser on the other end of a pencil. One side is for our
"writes," the other is for our wrongs.
If someone wrongs me grace must turn my face, and grace alone can do it. Strike
a saint on the right cheek (Matt. 6:39) he will turn the other also.
The world will not know peace until it knows
forgiveness. First it must
know the forgiveness and
grace of God that can only come by Jesus Christ, then it must know that
that very same grace supernaturally shall enable us to forgive.
First comes peace with God, then the peace of God. Without Christ there will never be peace in this world. The war in Afghanistan will go on forever because men cannot
forgive. The war in Palestine will go on until the second coming because men cannot
forgive. The war in men’s
hearts will go on because men will not forgive.
In the very answer to our greatest need God has
provided the secret of the second.