Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. The Bible makes it clear it's not hard to get to heaven on our own.
It's impossible. And it takes the intervention of God. Today we continue the series The Encouraging Message from the Cross. A message of the cross.
And now today you are forgiven. Colossians chapter 2 beginning in verse 9. And Paul says for in him that is in Christ dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. That is everything God is was to be found in Christ. And you that is believers are complete in him who is the head of all principalities and powers in whom also you are circumcised circumcision made without hands speaking of the cleansing of the heart in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.
Buried with him in baptism wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God who has raised him from the dead. And you now watch this verse and you being dead in your sins that is that's the past life. And in the uncircumcision of your flesh speaking of the heathens. Has he quickened made alive together with him having forgiven you all your trespasses. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against you which was contrary to us and took it out of the way nailing it to his cross.
And having spoiled principalities and powers he made a show of them openly triumphing over them in it. Now Paul everything he said was centered in the cross of Jesus Christ because all that we are all that we hope to be all that we ever will be all that we'll ever receive will all come through the cross of Jesus Christ. So when we talk about the encouraging message of the cross. What is that message first of all that God loves you just the way you are and second of the day that you are forgiven. So I want you to listen very very carefully to what our Lord says about our forgiveness before him. And the first thing I want us to notice here is the proclamation of forgiveness and a proclamation is a public authoritative announcement. And this is the announcement of God that every single believer has been forgiven and is living under the canopy of God's continuous unending never ending eternal forgiveness. Now, I want to explain that first of all by looking at some scriptures to prove to you and this first point is extremely important.
It is the foundation of everything. I'm going to say if you miss this we're not going to be in agreement at the end. So don't miss this first part. All right, Colossians chapter 2 if you'll notice what he says here in this 13th verse. He says in you speaking to believers being dead in your sins that is in the past and the uncircumcision of your flesh speaking to those who had been heathens in the past.
He says Christ has quickened you that has made you alive in your spirit together with him having, now watch this, having past tense, aorist tense, something in the past happened one time, having forgiven you what? How much of your transgression? All transgression. Transgression is stepping across the boundary of what God allows. And he says that in the past he has forgiven you of all your transgression.
All right, look in Colossians chapter 1 now beginning in verse 13. He says who hath been delivered, aorist tense again, something happened in the past one time. He has delivered us from the power of darkness, the bondage of sin, and has translated us once and for all one time into the kingdom of his dear son.
Once in darkness, now in light. Once in Satan's bondage, now in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in whom we have present tense redemption. That is he purchased us by the death of his son through his blood even the what? The forgiveness of sin. Translated once in the past, he says, and the present result of that is we are experiencing God's forgiveness. All right, if you'll turn to Ephesians chapter 4 and look, if you will, in verse 32. He says, and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath, past tense, forgiven you. That is, listen, in the past, he says he has forgiven you. One time in the past, God did something. All right, if you'll turn all the way over to 1 John for just a moment and the second chapter and listen to the 12th verse, there's going to be a change of tenses here. All of these others, the past tense, something happened in the past at one time, but verse 12 of 1 John chapter 2, I write unto you little children because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. Now listen, are forgiven you is in the perfect tense, which means watch this, which means something happened in the past and the result of something that happened in the past.
The results of that are continuously going on today as if it were happening right now. So he says in all of these scriptures that something has happened in the past. God forgave us of how much sin? All sin.
Now that means several things. If you'll turn to Romans chapter 8 for a moment in verse one, here's the power of that forgiveness. He says in verse one of chapter eight, there is therefore, therefore on the basis of something else, therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. So if we have been forgiven, there cannot be any condemnation. Look in John chapter three, verse 18, and you'll recall what he says in this familiar chapter. Verse 18 says he that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of his only begotten son. Chapter five of John verse 24.
Look to see what he says here. Very important verse. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me have everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but has already in the past one time kingdom of darkness in the kingdom of his dear son has passed from death unto light. Now, I want us to look at something very, very important here, because here is where so many people miss the truth. They think and this is error in their thinking.
They think if they don't do something, that means they got away with it. And what I want you to see is this, that humanity is absolutely and totally helpless to do anything about our sin. What in the world can one who is a violet of the law of God fallen short of the law of God, transgressed the law of God, rebelled against God, who has no heart for God, who is not seeking after God, who is not good toward God, who does not believe God, how in the world can that person ever do anything to merit anything from God?
We absolutely are totally helpless before God. So how is it that God can 2000 years ago before you were ever born place all of your sin in a manner in which it is forgiven in his sight? So the 2000 years later, you and I are living under the canopy of the forgiveness of God. All right. The second thing I want you to know here and to see is the provision God made in order to make it possible for us to live in continuous unbroken forgiveness.
I want you to stay with me. Look, if you will, in Romans Chapter five, verse nine, all of these verses have something in common. And what I want you to do is I want you to get the meat and the heart and the core and the truth of the scripture in your heart.
So you can be free and liberated and at the same time be able to pass it on to someone else. All right. In Chapter five of Romans, verse nine, much more than being now justified by his what? But that is declared righteous, acceptable and approved and forgiven before God. By his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
All right. If you look in Ephesians Chapter one for a moment. And if you notice in verse seven, what he says, he says, in whom that is in Christ Jesus, we have redemption. That means redemption means that because a ransom has been paid, there has been released from bondage or captivity. When Jesus Christ went to the cross, he was God's payment. Jesus said, I've come to give my life a ransom for many. Jesus Christ was God's payment for the penalty of sin. He says, in whom we presently have redemption through his what? Through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Now, listen, we have forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. And that was motivated by the what from God?
By the grace of God. Grace is God's unmerited, undeserved, unmotivated favor, which he has expressed toward us in love. What is it that sent God's only begotten son of the cross? It was his grace, his unmerited love toward us. He says in each of these verses that it was by the blood of Jesus Christ that we have been forgiven.
All right. If you look in Colossians once more now, same verse we saw a few moments ago. He says in Chapter one, verse 14, in whom we have redemption again, bought back through his what? Through his blood, even the forgiveness of our sin.
All the way through, it's the same thing. Look, if you will, in First Peter, Chapter one. And look, if you will, in verse 18 and 19.
Listen to what he says. For as much as you know that you are not redeemed, that is purchased, that is bought out of bondage, you are not redeemed with corruptible things. Now, the two most valuable things he could mention when it comes to purchasing would be gold and silver, which he mentions here.
He says silver and gold from your vain conversational lifestyle received by tradition from your fathers. But he says we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Chapter two, verse 24.
Look, if you will. Speaking of Jesus, he said, who his own self, nobody but him, who his own self bear our what? Our sins in what? His own body, on the tree that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness by whose stripes you're healed. So he's simply saying here that God the Father has placed the what? He's placed upon Jesus Christ all the sin of all mankind. That means that all the sin of humanity, past, present and future, when Jesus Christ died from Adam all the way to the last person who's ever born, all that sin God said he placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, listen, if he placed it all there and Jesus died for our sin, then we no longer have to pay the penalty that would separate us from God. He's placed all the penalty that is all the punishment for all sin has been placed upon Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. Now, you see, it's very difficult for us two thousand years later, having been saved by the grace of God, not to want to hold some of that upon ourselves, because we say we deserve it. We're guilty.
We deserve to bear that. But God says he placed all that sin upon his son, Jesus Christ, two thousand years ago. All right. Now, the third thing I want you to see here is our personal acceptance of his forgiveness.
Now, watch this very carefully. It is one thing for Jesus Christ to have died two thousand years ago for the sin of all mankind. It is something else for men to respond to that offer of forgiveness. If a person refuses to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, this is the position they put themselves in. They say, no, I don't believe that Jesus Christ is the only way. So I intend one of these days to stand before a righteous, holy, just God and to say to him, Lord, no, I didn't receive Jesus Christ as my savior because I believe that I really wasn't that bad, that there were some good character qualities within me. And after all, as I look around me, I'm as good as many people, in fact, better than most. And if anybody is going to get to heaven, I deserve to get there.
Now, here is the epitome of spiritual blindness, and let me show you why. All of us know some people who will find moral people. We know some people who are good citizens and good family people. But you and I must remember that we can't look at a man's heart and see if in his heart he's moral or immoral.
Nor can we look in a person's heart and see if they're honest or dishonest in their motivation. So when we look around, we say how good people are, we think, well, surely God wouldn't send that fellow to hell. God isn't going to send anybody there. Listen, if a man gets to hell today, he's got to tunnel his way through the grace of God because everywhere you turn, the grace of God is expressed toward mankind.
All right? So he stands before God. And from a human perspective, he looks like a rather good fellow and ought to be accepted now as of God.
But the truth is this. Almighty God said that the sin of mankind was so costly, so diabolical in his eyes that when he looked at the price tag, the only price tag acceptable, the only thing that could happen that could atone for man's sin and God still remain just and righteous was for Almighty God himself to send his only begotten son to the cross and lay his life down on the cross and God to take all of the sin of all of mankind and punish his own son as your substitute and my substitute. So here's Mr. Self-righteous standing in the eyes of God and before him and saying, Lord, yes. But when God sees it, here's what God sees. God sees a man who rebelled against the law of God. God sees a man who's flaunted his own self-righteousness in the eyes of God. God sees a man who says, God, you're wrong. I know that you said that Jesus Christ is the only way, but if you knew me the way I know me, you would accept me into your kingdom. A man who intends to get into the kingdom of God except through the blood of Jesus Christ applied to his life is a foolish man walking in darkness hell bound because he has missed the whole point and the meaning of the atoning death of Jesus Christ. He knows nothing of the righteousness and the holiness and the justice of God and the only God he knows is a self-made God whom he has made with his own mental gymnastics that fits into the kind of lifestyle he wants to live. And I will tell you, my friend, you'll bust hell wide open with that kind of theology and you can't blame God for it. And the longer I get into this sermon, the more you're going to see how true that is.
Because you see, the truth is this, that you and I have a responsibility. A person who has received the Lord Jesus Christ has walked under the canopy of God's eternal forgiveness. The man who has said no to Jesus Christ is living in condemnation because he has refused to believe the testimony of Scripture. And somebody says, oh, I believe God.
That's not what the Bible says. I must believe what God Almighty said about his only son because Jesus said, he that had seen me had seen the Father. He that hath me hath the Father. He that hath me hath eternal life. He that hath not the Father hath not life, but the wrath of God is abiding upon him. How does a man receive life? He receives life by receiving Jesus Christ who is man's life.
Now listen, watch this. What is man's responsibility to God's offer of eternal and everlasting forgiveness? And there are two things involved here. First of all, we have a responsibility and God has a responsibility. Man's responsibility is what? Repentance toward God.
God's responsibility is what? Forgiveness toward man. Now, let me clarify what I mean by repentance. Repentance is a change of attitude that results in a change of affections that will result in a change of action. It is a change of attitude brought about by my understanding and recognition of my sinfulness and my need of Almighty God. Once I recognize that, my attitude changes, my affections change and my actions change. Repentance is a change of mind that affects all three aspects of the life.
It is a gift of God that comes through giving us understanding. He says our responsibility is to repent of our sins. Listen, that doesn't mean just change my mind about sin in the past, but it means also to change my mind about the Lord that I need Him and that He's my only hope. Our responsibility to receive God's forgiveness is repentance. God's responsibility is forgiveness.
Now watch this because I'm coming back to it. Forgiveness means to send it away. Forgiveness means to remit my sin.
Forgiveness means to take it away. So if I am forgiven of my sin, it is taken away and the penalty of it is removed. So when he says that we are forgiven of our sin, we no longer have to deal with what he has already dealt with. So we've said, first of all, that all of our sin was placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, whose death was absolutely essential to man's forgiveness, because that's the only way God could remain just and holy and righteous. Once he'd already said the soul that sin if it shall die. If he had stuck to that which he did, every man must die in his sins and die and go to hell. But he chose to substitute his only begotten son, put him on the tree, punished him with all of our sin, all of our punishment. He took the penalty.
He was the substitute. And that freed you and me to live under the canopy of God's forgiveness. Thank you for listening to You Are Forgiven. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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