I. THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.
A. This is man's greatest need.
1. Without the forgiveness of our sins we are hopelessly doomed to eternal destruction and separation from God.
2. God has already passed His sentence upon the sinner.
a. The wages of sin is death.
b. The soul that sinneth shall surely die.
c. God said to Adam, in the day that you eat, you shall surely die.
3. Even if your sins were in ignorance, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and those sins of ignorance must be atoned for, that is why in the law God made provisions for the atonement of sins of ignorance.
B. Listen to God's view of the unregenerate man.
What then? are we Jews better [than the Gentiles]? No, in no way: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips:
Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet [are] swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery [are] in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
C. Though God sees man like this, He still loves Him and desires to redeem Him.
D. God had created man for fellowship, but sinning man cannot have fellowship with a holy God.
1. What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
2. What communion hath light with darkness? John said that if we say that we have fellowship with God and we walk in darkness, we lie and know not the truth but if we walk in the light as He is in the light then we have fellowship one with another.
3. Amos asked, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?"
4. God's hand is not short that He cannot save, neither is His ear heavy that He cannot hear, but your sins have separated you from your God.
E. God had to first provide a righteous way to forgive our sins before we could be restored to fellowship with Him.
1. That way was provided through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by Me."
2. God placed on Him the iniquities of us all, and He died in our stead.
3. God made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him.
F. Surely near the top of the spiritual blessings that we have in Christ Jesus is the redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins.
1. The sentence for sin was death, there was no circumventing the law.
a. HEB 9:22
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
b. LEV 17:11
For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.
c. Under the Law the goat or the lamb became the substitute for the sinning man, and was slain in his place.
d. Jesus came to be the sacrifice for our sins, through Him we have redemption, even the forgiveness of our sins.
II. ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE.
A. Paul speaks to the Romans of the riches of His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering.
B. In Romans 9
he speaks of the riches of His glory.
C. In 11 he speaks of the depths of the riches of his wisdom and knowledge.
D. In chapter 2 of Ephesians he speaks of the exceeding riches of His grace.
E. In chapter 3 he speaks of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
F. Again in chapter 3 he speaks of the riches of His glory.
H. Here the riches of His grace are associated with the forgiveness of our sins.
1. God's justice demanded our death.
2. God's mercy sought a reprieve.
3. God's grace saved us. "For by grace are you saved by faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."
I. Moses had been on the mount receiving the law from God on the two tables of stone. As he came back to the camp, he heard the noise of the people singing as they danced and worshipped the golden calf. The two tables of stone which were in his hands, upon which God had inscribed the 10 commandments, the first being, "Thou shalt have no other gods, before Me. The second, "Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image." Here they had broken the law so Moses threw the stones upon the ground and they broke, which was a symbol of the broken commandments.
And when Moses saw that the people [were] naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto [their] shame among their enemies:)
Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who [is] on the LORD'S side? [let him come] unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, [and] go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.
And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.
And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Therefore now go, lead the people unto [the place] of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, [and] go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:
And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou [art] a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.
And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments.
For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye [are] a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.
And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.
And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, [that] every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which [was] without the camp.
And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, [that] all the people rose up, and stood every man [at] his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.
And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood [at] the door of the tabernacle, and [the LORD] talked with Moses.
And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand [at] the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man [in] his tent door.
And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.
Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation [is] thy people.
And he said, My presence shall go [with thee], and I will give thee rest.
And he said unto him, If thy presence go not [with me], carry us not up hence.
For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? [is it] not in that thou goest with us? so [are] upon the face of the earth.
And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
J. I love this, God's justice demanded that He consume them in His wrath, there was no way that He could justify or forgive what they had done, so He retreats to His sovereignty. It is as though He is saying I am God and I can do as I please, and I will be gracious, to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
K. Oh the riches of God's grace toward us.
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
L. Thanks be unto God and the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ in heavenly places, having chosen us in Him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace wherein He has made us accepted in the beloved in Whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His Grace.