God’s Offer of Forgiveness
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
2 Chronicles 7:11 – 14 11When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, 12theLORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. 13“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
The story is told of a rich Christian who had a large company of employees, many of whom owed him money. He was constantly trying to teach them something about Christianity, and one day he hit upon a plan. He posted a notice for his employees to see that said, “All those who will come to my office between eleven and twelve o’clock on Thursday morning to present an honest statement of their debts will have them canceled at once.” The debtors read the notice with a great deal of skepticism, and on Thursday morning, although they gathered in the street in front of his office, not one of them went to the door. Instead they gossiped and complained about their employer, and ridiculed the notice he had posted. They said it didn’t make sense.
But finally, at 11:45, one man jumped forward, dashed up the steps into the office, and presented his statement. “Why are you here?” the rich man asked him. “Because you promised to cancel the debts of all those who would come as you instructed,” the other replied. “And do you believe the promise?” “Yes, I do.” “Why do you believe it?” persisted the employer. “Because, although it was too much for me to understand, I know that you are a good man who would not deceive anyone.” The rich man took the bill and marked it “Paid in full,” at which time the poor man, overcome, cried out, “I knew it! I told them so! They said it couldn’t be true, and now I’m going out to show them.” “Wait,” said his benefactor, “it’s not quite twelve o’clock. The others are not entitled to any special proof of my sincerity.” When the clock struck twelve, the forgiven debtor ran out waving his receipt in the face of his fellows. With a mad rush they made for the door, but it was too late. The door was locked.
God made a similar offer to the nation of Israel through King Solomon. While the primary application of this well-known and often quoted passage is for the nation of Israel, the fundamental principles of forgiveness that that are expressed apply to each of us today on an individual basis. We all have sinned, and fall short of His glory. We are unable to pay the debt for that sin. But God has posted a notice on the company bulletin board that has a striking resemblance to a cross. It says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will forgive their debt of sin.” It’s an incredible offer, but the conditions attached are difficult.
Humility – To stand guilty before the One who said he would forgive but who could also demand payment. Humility demands agreement with God about our condition and offers no self-defense. Humility relinquishes all rights and surrenders completely to God’s rulings. Humility trusts God’s grace and mercy. Praise God that the payment has already been made in full by Jesus Christ so that God’s justice guarantees forgiveness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Prayer – To knock on the throne room door knowing that God will open it, we must renounce all human resources by turning in total dependence upon God, believing that He will do what He promised to do. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy. (Titus 3:4 – 5)
Seeking God’s face – To submit to God’s purpose for our lives and become a witness of God’s grace. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:19 – 24)
Turn from wicked ways – To repent of the sin, turning from it with a sincere heart and desire to not do it again. Continuing in the Hebrews passage from above we read, If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26 – 27)
When our hearts truly and sincerely reflect these four conditions, God completely forgives our sin. When we approach the throne of God with humble and broken hearts that cry out to Him in repentance of sin and submission to His will, He will forgive us completely and eternally. Hallelujah!
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalms 139:23 – 24)