LETTER: Jesus offers his forgiveness
To the Editor:
I enjoyed D.E. Parkerson’s column in last Sunday's Herald about the song “Amazing Grace” and story of the healing and restoration in South Africa, under the leadership of President Nelson Mandela, which began with showing forgiveness and grace. This story is a great illustration of the amazing grace and the forgiveness that God now offers to every man for the sins he has committed, for all have sinned and all are guilty before him (Romans 3). Unlike in Mandela’s story, however, the justice of God cannot be ignored. God's vengeance and wrath toward our sin and its consequences must be appeased, and the punishment for our sin must be satisfied, if we are to be acceptable to him.
We cannot comprehend this aspect of God's amazing grace toward us. Isaiah 53 best describes how Jesus in his crucifixion and death for us fulfilled this requirement of justice that was worthy and acceptable to God:
He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon him,
And by his scourging we are healed.
The lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
He was cut off out of the land of the living;
His grave was assigned with wicked men.
He poured out himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet he himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.
On the cross “Jesus said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing his head, he gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). Jesus was able to drink the cup of God's wrath and punishment that we deserved, thus completing God's plan of amazing grace … for us! Thankfully for us, God’s gospel also includes Christ's resurrection from the dead. Jesus now offers His forgiveness and grace to all who will through faith accept it. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” 1 Timothy 2:4-6.
Robert A. Watson