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You are Forgiven!

Notes & Transcripts

 TEXT: Micah 7:18-20

TOPIC: You are Forgiven!

Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama

Sunday Morning, August 16, 2009

(Portions of this message are taken from A Pocket Paper from The Donelson Fellowship and Robert J. Morgan)

 

            Many of you know that I am nearly the completion of a two-year personal Bible reading plan and studying through the word of God.  Using my Bible software program called Logos, I am able to pull several versions of the Bible and several commentaries up on the same screen as I read and study God’s word.  I should complete this two year reading plan this week!

            I have enjoyed reading lateky the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament.  Last week I finished the Prophet Micah.  In the 7th and final chapter of Micah, the Prophet from Moresheth, who was a contemporary of the Prophet Isaiah concludes his stinging prophecy of warning to Samaria and Jerusalem with some of the most tender and gracious words to God’s people.  I am reading beginning with verse 18 of Micah 7.  Stand with me please.

     18     Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

          He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

     19     He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

          You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

     20     You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

          as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

Micah 7:18-20, (ESV)

 

            One of the root problems that affect all mankind is a spiritual ailment called sin.  Though the culture and times in which we live today would like to dismiss this idea, the Bible is very clear, Romans 3 tells us "There is no one righteous, not even one... All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." There is none who seeks God.  We like stubborn sheep have turned away.

The Psalmist David once said, "My guilt has overwhelmed me, like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly" (Psalm 38:4-5).

How do we deal with our sin problem?  How will we stand before a Holy God who will judge and punish sinners?  The truth is there is nothing we can do.  We are sinners by nature and by choice and we can never undo our sinful nature or live above sin, and we certainly cannot save ourselves from our sin.

That’s the bad news.  But the good news is that God has done for us what we could never do ourselves.  He has forgiven us of all our sins! 

The old Gospel song says it this way, “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay;  I needed someone to wash my sins away.  And, now, I sing a brand new song…. Why?  Because…..

 

I. FORGIVENESS IS ROOTED IN THE INCOMPARABLE ATTRIBUTES OF OUR GOD, Micah 7:18

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. [1]

 

Most people seem to understand that God is a God of love.  He loves us.  In fact….

 

A. God is Immovable in His Love, Micah 7:18c

because he delights in steadfast love.

 

The same word is used again in verse 20, in referencing God’s steadfast love for Abraham and his descendants.  You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

 

Webster’s Dictionary says “steadfast” means “firmly fixed in place: immovable” or even “not subject to change.”  [2]

Let me share with you another verse I came across when I read through Lamentations a few months ago.  Lamentations 3:22 says, The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; [3]

Lamentations 3:22, ESV

Forgiveness is rooted in the incomparable attributes of our great God and God is immovable in His love for us.  God is also invariable in His compassion toward us.

 

B. God is Invariable in His Compassion, Micah 7:19a 

 

That is, God is consistent and unchanging when it comes to His compassion He has for us.  Verse 19 says, He will again have compassion on us;

 

            In these three verses from Micah 7, there arethree different Hebrew words for sin… used and four verbs that indicate forgiveness (“pardons … passes over … tread and cast”). [4]

 

II. FORGIVENESS IS EXPRESSED IN THE INNUMERABLE ACCOUNTS IN THE SCRIPTURES

 

Rosalind Goforth was a well-known missionary to China who, along with her husband Jonathan, enjoyed an illustrious career and ministry. But for many years even having labored for the Lord in China, Rosalind often felt oppressed by a burden of sin. She felt guilty and dirty, nursing an inward sense of spiritual failure. Finally one evening when all was quiet, she settled at her desk with Bible and concordance, determined to find out God's attitude toward the failures, the faults, the sins of his children. She put these words at the top of the page: What God Does With Our Sins. Then as she searched through the scriptures, she compiled this list of seventeen truths:

What God Does with Our Sins:

A.  He lays them on his Son-Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53:6 (NKJV)
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.

B.  Christ takes them away. John 1:29 (ESV)

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

C. They are removed an immeasurable distance-as far as East is from West. Psalm 103:12 (NKJV) As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 D. When sought for are not found. Jeremiah 50:20, (NKJV)

In those days and in that time,” says the Lord, “The iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none; And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found; For I will pardon those whom I preserve.

E. The Lord forgives them. Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV)
 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

F. He cleanses them ALL away by the blood of his son. 1 John 1:7 (NKJV)
 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

G. He cleanses them as white as snow or wool. Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV)
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

Psalm 51:7 (NKJV)
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

H. He abundantly pardons them. Isaiah 55:7 (NKJV)
Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

I. He tramples them under foot. Micah 7:19 (ESV)
He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

J. He remembers them no more. Hebrews 10:17 (NKJV)
“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

K. He casts them behind his back. Isaiah 38:17 (NKJV)
For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

 

L. He casts them into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19b, (ESV)

You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

M. He will not impute us with sins. Romans 4:8 (NKJV)
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

N. He covers them. Romans 4:7 (NKJV)
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;

O. He blots them out. Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.

P. He blots them out as a thick cloud. Isaiah 44:22 (NKJV)
I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins.

Q. He blots out even the proof against us, NAILING IT TO HIS SON'S CROSS.

Colossians 2:13-14 (The Message)
When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.[5]

There is a story that one night Martin Luther went to sleep troubled about his sin. In a dream he say an angel standing by a blackboard, and at the top of the board was Luther's name. The angel, chalk in hand, was listing all of Luther's sins, and the list filled the blackboard. Luther shuddered in despair, feeling that his sins were so many that he could never be forgiven. But suddenly in his dream he saw a pierced hand writing above the list these words: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." As Luther gazed in amazement, the blood flowed from the wounded hand and washed the record clean.

Charles Wesley just put it this way:

He breaks the power of canceled sin

And sets the captive free.

His blood can make the foulest clean,

His blood availed for me.

 


----

[1]The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Mic 7:18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2]Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

[3]The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (La 3:22). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4]Kenneth L. Barker, vol. 20, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1999), 134.

[5]Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (Col 2:13-14). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.

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