#40. When God's Word is Preached, It is a Message of Forgiveness
“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him
forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
It's worth reading our text over a few times, and slowly and thoughtfully. The truths itcontains are staggering, and they are addressed to you, if you have yet to turn from yoursins and rest your whole hope of salvation on Jesus Christ alone. They are addressed toyou by way of encouragement if you have done these things. Here are some of the keyphrases:
"Let it be known to you, brethren"
. Paul is in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch and has just preached the Gospel. He has talked about the life and ministry of Jesus and how Hewas the One Who came in fulfillment of the promises of God. John the Baptist pointed toHim as the Messiah. He talked also of His unjust death but then of His triumphantresurrection, again according to the promise of God. Now, in our verses, Paul comes to thestunning conclusion for his brethren - for the Jews meeting in that place. This is somethingthey must know, and something we need to know to. It is this:
"Forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you"
. If we knew God better, and understood themagnitude of the offence we have committed against Him more fully, these words wouldcause us to weep tears of joy and amazement. Forgiveness of sins? Of the sins that quiterightly merited my eternal punishment? Those can be forgiven, cast into the "forgetfulness"of an all-knowing God? They can be blotted out? Though they are scarlet, they can bemade as white as snow? Yes, yes and yes again! It is all "yes!" in Christ!
"through Him [Jesus] everyone who believes is freed from all things"
. What do Ihave to do to be forgiven? What great work must I do to merit such a gift? There is nothingyou can do. All you could manage is to add more sin to the offence you have already causedGod. If you are to be saved, God must do it, and He must do it all. What we have to do isto believe in Jesus - to trust that His life and death are fully sufficient grounds upon whichGod can forgive those who appropriate them to themselves by faith. Salvation is free, andit brings freedom. Freedom from the guilt of sin and its condemnation, freedom from thepower of sin and its pollution. You will know the Truth, said Jesus, and the Truth will makeyou free.
"You could not be freed from these things through the Law of Moses"
. The Lawdemands perfection and our sinful hearts cannot deliver it. So without Christ, the Lawpoints with laser accuracy to our sins and cries out for the just punishment to be applied.We need someone to keep the Law for us, and someone Who can receive its justpunishment in our place. Jesus is that person, and this is what He did in His life and death.Can there possibly be a more glorious message that this? How shall we understand thosewho call themselves believers and yet stay away from a service where the Gospel ispreached because it is "not for them"? Have they grown tired of hearing about what Jesusdid to set them free? Have they "graduated" in their faith to a point where the work of Jesus no longer seems important to them? Have they minimized their view of their own sin,and therefore also of the work of Jesus for the sinner? Let us be careful of going in thatdirection and of thinking such things ourselves! Let us not become so familiar with thestupendous facts of the Gospel that they no longer thrill our souls. Let us also make every