Summary: For believers, this is the sadest thing that could ever happen. This message causes a self evaluation as to how well we remember that we are saved by grace, and owe our lives to God.
It really shouldn’t surprise us at the great lengths the Bible speaks of forgiveness. Our entire message, faith, belief, and life is based on that one thing: forgiveness. And in the Bible, in all the various ways forgiveness is discussed, there stands out, above the others, a few things about forgiveness that are necessary and needful for mankind to recognize.
The basic realization that man has to recognize is: 1. We need forgiveness. We’re told this in God’s Word. The Bible says, "All we like sheep have gone astray, and every man has turned unto his own way." We’ve strayed from the Father, not keeping the demands of His law. It also says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." "Sin" means "missing the mark," and so, we have all missed God’s mark!
When you were a child, maybe your parents did this. They took you to a doorfacing, took a ruler, or yardstick or some-thing, and measured your height. They did that periodically to guage your growth. You were so proud when they would brag on how tall you were. And it was okay, until your "taller" brother or sister would step up. They would rub it in that they were taller than you.
But suppose your parents went on top of the house, and made a mark, and then told you, "I want you to be this tall. This is the mark I’ve set for you." No matter how tall you or your sibblings grew, you would never reach that mark. No one could rub anyone else’s nose in the fact that they were taller, because they were still missing the mark.
Well, you see, God has set a mark - a high mark. In fact, God wants us to be like Him! That is a high mark. And if we don’t reach that mark, we can’t go to heaven, or have eternal life. And the Bible says that, "All of us have sinned, and fallen short of God’s glory." One translation says, "We have all missed the mark of God’s perfection." That means, no one can brag about their height, because they are still well short of the mark.
God has set a mark of maturity and Spirituality, that He wants us all to attain. But no matter how much we try, we will still miss the mark. Many people don’t see the need for forgiveness, because they’re comparing their status with the wrong mark. Our brothers and sisters are not the standard. We’re not trying to reach their mark, or outgrow their mark. The requirement is God’s mark.
So, we need forgiveness. The Bible also tells us,
2. God has provided forgivness. God established a way to where we would not have to bear the punishment for failing to reach the mark. His solution? He sent Jesus to reach the mark for us. Jesus came and lived a perfect, sinless life, and reached the mark that God had set.
He then traded places with us, causing our life status to show that we had reached the mark, while He took our punishment for not reaching the mark. If we accept that tradeoff, we are released from the responsibility of not reaching the mark, because Jesus bore the punish-ment in our place.
And I don’t know if you understand that or not, because I wonder sometimes if we can understand God’s level of for-giveness. And in reality, we have not reached the mark, but because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we don’t have to reach the mark. The level and depth of God’s forgiveness is far beyond our ability to understand and comprehend. But all I know is that the Word of God says that it’s true, and I am persuaded to believe it!