“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Ephesians 1:17
Over the years this writer has met a number of people who believe that because God is love, He will not punish anyone for sin. Some also blame God for allowing so much evil on the earth. After all, isn’t He sovereign over all His Creation?
When things go terribly and painfully wrong in their lives they blame God along the lines of, “I thought God was supposed to be a God of love?” Or, “If He is almighty why doesn’t He bring an end to all the misery on earth?” Since they have no answer to these questions they then reject the existence of God.
The idea that God will express His love toward man by always forgiving sin, regardless of man’s actions, because He is kind and loving, does not appear in the Bible. God is holy and righteous and to forgive sin without justice would defile His divine nature. The revelation of God is that He cannot forgive; He would contradict His nature if He did.
The only ground on which God can forgive people for their sin is the cross of Christ (“through His blood”) and in no other way. Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony of Calvary.
God does not forgive us because He loves us. Love sent the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross of Calvary. We are forgiven because Jesus Christ died for us and we become beneficiaries through another act of God; the new birth. Our part is no more than believing and receiving God’s gracious gift of Christ who died for us.
It is the knowledge that our sins are forgiven, and at such great cost, that will awaken the deepest well of gratitude toward God. The first act of faith for a new believer is always to thank God. Without this heartfelt gratitude there is no salvation. Without the continuance of the attitude of gratitude there is no assurance of salvation witnessed by the Holy Spirit.