Only by the blood of Jesus can we receive God's forgiveness through His redemptive plan. God is love and He loves us. However, He did not die for us simply because He loves us, but because He needed to in order to forgive us. Just because God loves everyone does not mean that all have received the forgiveness that God has provided. Forgiveness only comes when we accept God's full payment for sin. Until we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour we will not experience God's forgiveness and be reconciled to Him. This is the key to our freedom.
In the garden Satan came in the form of a serpent to Adam and Eve convincing them that God was holding out on them. This lie caused them to sin as they disobeyed God and obeyed the serpent by eating the fruit from the forbidden tree. Their intimate relationship with God was destroyed. They immediately hid and separated themselves from the presence of God because now they were naked and afraid of Him. God asked them where they were, wanting them to realize what they had done. God was holding them responsible for their actions. Many people today are afraid of God because they have sinned by listening to the voice of Lucifer.
God in His holiness killed two animals in front of Adam and Eve. He wanted them to see each animal die and its blood poured out for them to let them know that this was the requirement for sin. He then made coats for them before putting them out of the garden. He showed them by the shedding of blood that only He can deal with and take away sin. They were responsible for the animal that was sacrificed for their sin. They needed to remember that it was an animal's blood that was poured out to cover their sin. Genesis 4:1-5 tells us that in the course of time that Abel brought a firstborn lamb as an offering to the Lord and He accepted it. However, Cain's offering of wheat, which was the work of his hands, God did not accept. This reveals that man cannot be forgiven by works.
God has always had a plan of redemption from the very beginning, even from the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4). In the Spirit, the Lamb was already slain before Adam sinned. The enemy thought He destroyed God's plan for mankind, but he did not. As Hebrew 10:4-5 says, Christ came into the world because it was not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. It only covered the sin. God gave Himself (Jesus) a body to offer for sin because He was the perfect sacrifice for sin. His shed blood washes the sin away and removes the penalty and the wrath of God.
Sin is a direct attack against God's holiness. Sin cannot come near Him. God's holiness and righteousness was being satisfied on the cross. He was dealing with all of man’s ungodliness. God's divine wrath against sin came upon Christ. Jesus became the curse for us. Only Jesus could bear the punishment and wrath of God in His body as He was both God and man. No other person but God Himself could be the sinless one to bear His wrath against sin.
God has always had the answer for sin and provided it through the cross. He loved us so much that He was willing to take upon Himself the punishment for our sin at Calvary. Otherwise we would be forever separated from Him. The cross is the divine miracle of God for us. We are forgiven. Jesus said He counted it all joy enduring the cross for all of us (Hebrew 12:2). Jesus death was the only reason He came to earth. He came to pay the penalty for sin. That's why Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of me” when we take communion. God prepared all of this so that He could forgive you and me. So, when we accept the powerful work of the cross and receive His forgiveness; we must be willing to forgive those who have hurt us by slander, offense or abuse. If we do not forgive, our Heavenly Father cannot forgive us as it says in Matthew 6:14-15. May we do what Ephesians 4:32 tells us and be kind to one another, forgiving each other, as God in Christ forgave us.
- Pastor Carol McLean