Precise Forgiveness

by

It is easy for Christians to believe that Jesus forgives sinners. But when we move from the idea of a theoretical forgiven sinner to our forgiveness, all kinds of doubts arise. These doubts whisper to us, “God doesn’t know the particular circumstances of my sin.” It’s the assumption that God’s wisdom and power are too vast, and He is too busy to trace the complexity of all the different types and circumstances of sin. And so the sinner, while professing the exalted magnanimity of God’s grace, can at times also say, “Yes, but He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know my circumstances. My sin is the exception to the rule.”

What we need is to believe that the raw, enormous power of Christ’s wrath-absorbing death also has combined with it an exacting precision. Can we look specifically at Christ’s crucifixion and see both great power and the kind of attention to detail that would convince us that God’s offer of salvation to all who come to Him extends to our individual lives, forgiving our particular sins?

Power and Precision

Psalm 34:20 reads, “He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.” The immediate circumstances of the psalm were when David acted mentally disturbed to escape his enemy, Abimelech (1 Sam. 21). God protected even David’s bones. That is incredible protection at a precise, osteopathic level. But that isn’t the only place that these words appear in the Bible.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 (John 19:36) as a prophecy fulfilled in the gruesome death of Jesus Christ. David’s ignoble rescue is now magnified in Jesus’ shameful death. Jesus, on the cross, experienced the enormous, eternal wrath of God against sin. But God at the same time planned every aspect of the crucifixion to the finest detail (Acts 2:23). When the Roman soldiers came to break the legs of those crucified to hasten their death, they found Jesus was already dead. Psalm 34:20 was fulfilled at that moment. God protected Jesus’ femur, tibia, and fibula even as Jesus bore the judgment for all the sins of all His people. In this, God revealed His power and precision.

Sin and Forgiveness

Christian, God’s promise to forgive all your sins is backed by the same power and precision that our Lord exercised in the crucifixion of Jesus. You can’t opt yourself out of God’s love under the assumption that God can’t know how bad that secret sin of yours is. So what sin is it that you hold back from God’s forgiveness? What sin do you think is so unique, so different as to exclude you from God’s grace? Why do you believe God’s grace to be blunt-force in its work and not surgically precise?

If God can pour out eternal wrath and protect leg bones, then He can save all who come to Him by faith, forgiving every sin for which His Son died (1 John 1:9; 2:12). Run to Him in free and joyful repentance today. Let no sin hold you back.

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.