Summary: How can the God who maintains absolute Justice, dismiss the charges of the guilty? Yet God's hyphenated name is God-Who-Forgives! How can this be?
Ps. 99:8, NKJV
A. HUMOR: Nuns And Greed
1. There was a very large nun who dearly loved her food. She was cautioned by the Mother Superior on the subject of greed. ‘Remember,’ she was told, ‘the Bible says that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, and therefore we should respect our bodies and show restraint.’
2. For a while the lesson apparently went home and it was noticed that the nun ate much less than before. But then, alas, it became obvious at meal times that she was back to her former ways.
3. Again she was on the carpet for a reprimand. ‘You seem to be forgetting what I said about being temples of the Holy Spirit sister,’ said her Superior.
4. With a beatific smile the nun replied, ‘Well, it was while I was praying the other day Mother, that I seemed to hear a voice that said, “Sister, you are not a temple of the Holy Spirit, you are a basilica.”
1 The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; let the earth be moved! 2 The Lord is great in Zion, and He is high above all the peoples. 3 Let them praise Your great and awesome name—He is holy….4[Who] also loves justice. 6 Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel was among those who called upon His name; they called upon the Lord, and He answered them. 7 He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar; they kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them. 8 You answered them, O Lord our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, though You took vengeance on their deeds. 9 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy. Ps. 99:1-3, 6-9.
1. I was doing my daily Bible reading last week, reading through the Book of Psalms. I was reading Psalm 99 in the New King James Version when I got to verse 8 and was startled with their translation.
2. I checked a few other translations then looked at the underlying Greek, and how the phrase was used, and was shocked to realize that God had another Name I hadn’t heard about till now – the GOD-WHO-FORGIVES.
3. The more I thought about this the more revelation came, so I knew God wanted me to preach on it.
4. We’re going to look at how unusual this Name is, what a contradiction of God’s nature it is, how God is unique in this attribute, and how this effects us. The title is, the “GOD-WHO FORGIVES.”
I.HOW UNUSUAL THAT GOD SHOULD FORGIVE
A. GOD’S NATURE AS HOLY & JUST
1. “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isa. 6:3. God was identified not by His love, but by His holiness.
2. The Hebrew word “holy” means “separate.” Why is God “separate?” God is nothing like us.
3. We and the angels are created; God is uncreated. We are creatures of time; God is outside of time. We are contaminated by sin; God is separate from sin, pure, holy, sacred.
4. God is as far above angels as He is above a worm, because the difference between angels and worms is not much, but the distance between created things and the Creator is infinite!
B. HE IS MORALLY PERFECT (separate from evil)
1. Hab. 1:13, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”
2. Job 25:5, "Yea, the [angels] are not pure in his sight."
3. “Do not come any closer.” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” Ex. 3:5.
4. God will judge and destroy all the wicked (Ps. 9:5; 37:38; 92:7; 101:8; 145:20; etc.).
5. God judges all with perfect justice, punishing the wicked and exonerating the innocent.
6. Listen to the solemn declaration of Heb. 2:2-3, “For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”
7. In God’s justice, the smallest infraction will be punished. No detail will escape God’s notice. It will be like the FBI investigating your past. All will be exposed. There is no escape from your sins.
C. ILLUS.: IMPOSSIBILITY OF PARDON
1. Alexander III was Tsar of Russia from 1881-1894. His rule was marked by repression, and in particular by persecution of Jews.
2. His wife, Maria Fedorovna, provided a stark contrast, being known for her generosity to those in need. On one occasion her husband had signed an order consigning a prisoner to life in exile. It read simply “Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia.”