Summary: Forgiveness brings freedom and joy!
Experiencing the Joy of Forgiveness
In his book, The Preaching Event, John Claypool tells a poignant story about identical twin brothers who never married because they enjoyed each other’s company so much. When their father died, they took over his store and ran it together in a joyful collaboration. But one day a man came in to make a small purchase and paid for it with a dollar. The brother who made the sale placed the dollar on top of the cash register... and walked the customer to the door to say goodbye. When he returned, the dollar bill was gone. He said to his twin brother, "Did you take the dollar bill I left here?" "No, I didn’t," answered the brother. "Surely, you took it," he said, "There was nobody else in the store." The brother became angry: "I’m telling you, I did not take the dollar bill."
From that point, mistrust and suspicion grew until finally the two brothers could not work together. They put a partition right down the middle of the building and made it into two stores. In anger, they refused to speak for the next 20 years. One day a stranger pulled up in a car and entered one of the two stores. "Have you been in business very long here?" the stranger asked. "Yes, 30 or 40 years," was the answer. "Good," continued the stranger, "I very much need to tell you something... Some 20 years ago, I
passed through this town. I was out of work and homeless. I jumped off a boxcar. I had no money and I had not eaten for days. I came down that alley outside and when I looked into your store window, I saw a dollar bill on the cash register. I slipped in and took it. Recently I became a Christian. I was converted and accepted Christ as my personal Savior. I know now it was wrong of me to steal that dollar bill... and I have come to pay you back with interest and to beg your forgiveness."
When the stranger finished his confession, the old storekeeper began to weep as he said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you please come next door and tell that story to my brother?" Of course, with the second telling, the two brothers were reconciled with many hugs and apologies and tears. Twenty years of hurt and broken relationship based not on fact, but on mistrust and misunderstanding. But then healing came; reconciliation came, because of that stranger’s love for Christ.
Romans 4:6-8 “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
We are continuing our study in the book of Romans. Remember in chapter one, Paul presents the facts of the Gospel and confesses that he is not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He embraces the fact that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and on third day arose again according to the Scriptures. Then Paul set out to prove that all men were equally guilty before God and deserved nothing short of death. The wages of sin is death! In chapter three, Paul explains the advantages of the Jews and the benefits of the law. Then he compares these advantages to the plight of the Gentiles who had no written law. Paul carefully dismantles the common excuses of people who refuse to admit they are sinners. Also he addresses those people who say, "there is no God" and those who choose to follow my own mind and conscience. Then Paul challenges those who say, "I am not as bad as other people are." Paul proves that all men are equally guilty of violating the law of God. Then in detail he answers the question, "What advantages is it then to be a Jew?" Paul list the advantages of the Jews as (1) the Jews were entrusted with the Laws of God (2) they were the race through which the Messiah would come (3) they were the beneficiaries of a covenant with God himself, but these advantages did not make them better than anyone else. In fact because of the advantages, the Jews were more responsible to live up to God’s requirements. "To whom much is given, much is required." So Paul concludes that because the Jews were given the Law of God, the covenant with God, and an understanding of God’s requirements, it did not lessen their responsibility, they were more responsible to obey and do the will of God.
In Chapter three, there are several defining statements in Paul’s argument about the condition of the human race. (1) Romans 3:10 "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one:" Paul says that all mankind is guilty before God and there is none righteous, no not one. The lack of righteousness on man’s behalf is his general proposition. Mankind is not right in their dispositions and designs, in their discourse and their actions. None have a right understanding, they do not think right, talk right nor act right. No not one! Paul’s first proposition is the fact that no one could stand before God in his own righteousness. Paul’s second proposition is that all have sinned. (2) Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" All mankind have sinned. All mankind have missed the mark. All mankind are under the control of sin. And all mankind are under the penalty of sin. Jews and Gentiles alike, bond and free, rich and poor, educated and barbarians, none were fulfilling their God given assignment, nor living up to God’s expectations. To come short is to miss the mark. Paul’s analogy comes from the language of an archer. As an archer misses the bull’s eye of his target, mankind missed its mark. All have sinned and come short of the mark. First, there is none righteous, no not one. Secondly, all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. The third proposition comes from verses 19 and 20 of Romans three:,