bits from bob....
"It is the love of Christ that compels us onward...." (2 Cor. 5:14)
Let this statement from Oswald Chambers catch your attention as it does mine. The revelation of God is that he cannot forgive. Forgiveness remains a miracle of grace. Forgiveness requires the Cross. A holy God cannot frivolously forgive sin. Groundless forgiveness contradicts the nature of God.
The Bible speaks so frequently and clearly concerning the forgiveness which is available in Christ (cf. Eph. 1:7) that we have failed to see God. We must rethink God. Beware too pleasant a view of God--loving, kind, forgiving, even overlooking sin! That sentiment is not biblical. The opposite view of God is more frequently in view in Scripture. Beware a God-view that blurs or clouds the necessity of Atonement.
In the natural realm, forgiveness is not natural. For supernatural beings in the supernatural realm, it is not clear that forgiveness is possible (2 Pet. 2:4). God's forgiveness is only reasonable in the supernatural domain. Forgiveness is supernatural--in source, location, goal, and domain. Forgiveness is for eternity. God's supernatural forgiveness has unnaturally entered the natural, human domain.
The only basis upon which God can extend forgiveness to his sinful human creation is through the cross of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness without the cross of Christ is blasphemous and denies God. Forgiveness without our cross is equally blasphemous. The cross is the only way God can reinstate us to his favor (grace). We think of forgiveness glibly, accept it easily, even take it for granted. Forgiveness required the suffering of the cross. Let us never forget!
God has forgiven sin on earth! The angels announced "Peace on Earth!" Paul never could escape the forgiveness of God--chief of sinners, compelled, woe is me. That which awakens the deepest gratitude in my soul is that God has forgiven me. Christmas is not the baby in the manger, but the beginning of the Christ on the cross. When you realize the price of forgiveness, the cost of restored grace, you will leave worldly vices for the vice of God, constrained by the love of God demontrated in Christ.
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