A Rational Basis, Part II

Part II: How God is able to forgive us

(If you missed part 1 of this 2 part series, you can find it listed at the bottom.)

How then is it possible for God to forgive us? How does God “make provision” for us to be able to repent from sin? We have established, well enough, in part I of our series that we need to repent! Doing it, from our side, is the easy part! What about God’s part? How can he permit us to even do this? What provision has he made for us to be able to do this? Well, back in Genesis 3, we read the account of Adam and Eve sinning against God. If you recall, they both disobeyed God’s voice. God clearly told them not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. However, they disobeyed. Since God is a holy God, the act of disobeying him like this “cut off” Adam and Eve’s fellowship (or friendly relationship) from God. God had said to them, prior to their disobedience, “… for in the day that thou eatest thereof [the fruit of that particular tree] thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17b).

This word “die” meant that they would not only suffer physical death (which they did hundreds of years later) but, more particularly, that they would be spiritually cut off from God, right then and there. For the expression refers to something that happened *at one and the same time* as they sinned, according to the expression, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof”. It would be something that happened the same day! In that day (that they ate of the fruit), something changed dramatically in their relationship with God! They were “cut off,” so to speak. They could still speak with him (for they did that when God approached them a bit later), but the relationship had changed! It was no longer holy. It was no longer pure. A sacrifice for sin was now needed to cleanse, or “atone” for their sin.

Because God is a holy God, we read these strong words in the Bible: “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) Who knows this better than God? He invented the “rules” which operate in the spiritual realm. Just as there are physical rules that govern this universe, so, too, are there spiritual ones. This is one of the “primary” spiritual rules. Sin must be “atoned” for. It must be “covered”. The “dealing” with sin is what the cross of Jesus Christ is all about. It is the demonstration of God’s justice and mercy, all at the same time. Justice, because sin must be atoned for — it must be “dealt” with — it is a spiritual rule that God has laid down, and, because he is just, he will not betray that rule. Mercy, because God is the very One who has provided the sacrifice for sins.

The cross of Jesus Christ was, and is, therefore, God’s perfect solution for dealing with sin. It lets us go free, and puts all the blame on Jesus Christ. Is that fair? No, certainly not! But no one ever said that God was a fair God! If God were fair, then no one would live. We’d all be separated from him forever, because each of us has “done his or her own thing” that separates us from having a close, intimate, relationship with God. So is God fair? (Do you want him to be?) No, God is not fair, thank God! But he is just! And he is merciful. In light of his mercy, his decision is to let sinners “go free” as long as the requirements for justice are met. Those requirements were met in Jesus Christ, dying for us on the cross!

Have you understood? Is it now clear? I hope that it is a little clearer than before you started reading this article. This, then, is how God enables us to repent. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. We could not even ask for forgiveness for our sins if God did not provide the sacrifice for sins. Thank God, he has done that in sending Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross!