Summary: The just penalty of our sin is death and separation from God.Our sin demands that we be forsaken by God. Christ,took our place; When we, by faith, repent of our sin and receive the gift of salvation, Christ’s death is appropriated to cover our sin


At the age of 41,Elizabeth Barrett became the wife of Robert Browning, the famous English poet. Her father, a

widower, disowned her.He objected to the marriage

and disowned her simply because he didn’t want

any of his children to leave home and break up the

family! Elizabeth’s biographer wrote that her father

“ruthlessly sought to obliterate every trace of his

daughter.” Elizabeth and Robert Browning moved

to Italy where they lived for five years. Believing

that, with the passing of time, her father’s heart

would soften, Elizabeth wrote hundreds of letters to

him. Almost every week she wrote telling him how

much she loved him and how she longed for a

reconciliation. He never answered one of those

hundreds of letters. Returning to England Elizabeth

sought, through intermediaries, to restore the

relationship. Her father steadfastly refused, deciding

instead, to carry his rancor and unreasonableness to

the grave.

Shortly after his daughter had arrived back in

England seeking to restore the relationship, Mr.

Barrett sent a package to his daughter. It contained

every letter she had written him during the five

years of her absence. The letters were all unopened,

their seals unbroken. What shocked Elizabeth

Browning was the fact that even the special letters

that she had sent in black-edged envelopes and

sealed in black wax, had been left intact. Surely, she

thought, her father would have been concerned,

thinking that the letters indicated that something

was wrong with her or the baby. Yet he had not

even bothered to open these letters.She resigned

herself to the inevitable end, and, in a disconsolate

mood, once again left England. Forsaken by her

father whom she loved was more than she could

bear. Forsaken.“It is one of the most haunting words

of human life and one of the most dreadful of

human experiences.This dreaded word recalls for

many an ocean of tears, heartache, bitter

disappointment, blighted hopes and unbearable


The horrible pain of abandonment is something our

Savior willing endured for us. He was forsaken by

the fickle crowd who on Palm Sunday shouted,


LORD.” But a short time later they cried,


forsaken by the religious hierarchy. Stirring up the

people, these religious leaders had Jesus arrested

and condemned. He was forsaken by His disciples.

When He needed them the most they were nowhere

to be found.But all of this was as nothing compared

to what He experienced when, hanging from a cross,

He was forsaken by God.The unbearable pain of

that experience caused Him to cry out saying,



“The most gut-wrenching cry of abandonment and

loneliness in history came not from a prisoner or a

widow or a patient. It came from a hill, from a

cross, from a Messiah. ‘MY GOD, MY GOD! He

screamed, ‘WHY DID YOU ABANDON ME?’”

In paying the just penalty of your sin, Christ was

forsaken by God. “Our finite minds will never

penetrate the full significance of these

heart-rendering words that fell from the lips of Jesus

as He died bearing the penalty of our sin. There is a

deep mystery in these words which no human can

fathom.”Nevertheless, they are not without their

meaning.These dying words of our Savior

communicate tremendous truths, truths which we

need to know if we are to live victoriously. His cry

from the cross speaks to us of the terrible penalty of



“It was in the ‘forsaking’ that Jesus was bruised, put

to grief, smitten and afflicted of God for our

iniquities just as the prophet Isaiah prophesied.

During the desolate period when Jesus was bearing

‘the sins of many,’ his sinless soul was brought into

contact with the sins of a lost world and the awful

load crushed him. In some mysterious and

unexplainable way, ‘he was made sin for us.’”

1 Peter 2:24 declares that Christ “HIMSELF BORE




HAVE BEEN HEALED.” “Sin in all its

hideousness took possession of His human soul and

He underwent the full consciousness of God’s wrath

upon sin. He endured for a season the sense of that

utter removal and banishment from God which is

the supreme penalty and result of sin. If hell is, in

part, eternal separation from God, then Jesus

certainly had a foretaste of such bitterness and

abandonment when He bore your sins and my sins.

As the Lamb of God, Jesus was provided to atone

for and remove sin, to reconcile us to God. Dying,

He presented to God an infinite atonement and now

we have redemption through His blood, even the

forgiveness of sins. Jesus endured forsakenness so

that we might be forgiven.”


THOU FORSAKEN ME?” was the cry of one who

was at the point of death, the bearer of sin. “The

guilt of our sin had been laid on His head; the curse

of the law had been bound on His heart. He had

taken upon Himself the doom which that entailed,

and it meant that He was exposed to the wrath and

judgment of God so we wouldn’t have to be. It

would recall something of the ritual on the day of

atonement when the sin of Israel was put away in a

symbolic ceremony. A scapegoat was driven out

into the desert, bearing the sins of the people into

unknown wastelands of separation and oblivion.

That element of estrangement was part of the

darkness, part of the penalty of sin. As Christ had to

bear that great burden, it was more than He could

bear. He was stricken by man; smitten by God.

The suffering built up an overwhelming pressure

and at last it broke through all His reserve and

self-restraint. One stark solitary cry, a cry of trouble

as though His heart would break, was wrung from

his innermost being.” “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY


forsaken of the Father so we might never be

forsaken. He endured the darkness that we might

have light.

In dying on the cross, “Christ was not spared until

He had endured all that sin must entail, and the last

dread result of sin is to shut man out from the

presence of God.” This proves that God does not

take sin lightly; neither should we! Being absolutely

holy and just, God cannot just overlook our sin.

If He were to do that He would have to betray His

divine nature, something He will not and cannot do.

In being true to His divine nature, God demands that

the penalty of sin be paid.Romans 6:23 declares that

the “WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH.” The just penalty

of our sin is death and separation from God. Our sin

demands that we be forsaken by God. Christ,

however, took my place; He took your place. When

we, by faith, repent of our sin and receive the gift of

salvation, Christ’s death is appropriated to cover our

sin. We are then forgiven rather than forsaken by



Our Savior’s fourth word from the cross is also a

reminder of the seriousness of sin in another costly

way. In spite of the fact that so much that is sinful

has become so acceptable today, sin is serious and

costly in that it brings untold heartache, regret,

misery and even death. Sin ruins lives, wrecks

homes and destroys the very fabric of society.

We must not, therefore, view sin from the world’s

benign perspective.Society presents sin as harmless;

no big deal.This is certainly the way the new

morality is presented.Nevertheless a popular book

by a non-Christian makes it very clear that the

promiscuous life style of today is taking a huge toll.

Author Wendy Shalit writes in her book, A Return

to Modesty, of the incredible toll sinful lifestyles

have taken on an entire generation.It has left untold

millions of folk wounded, empty and disillusioned.

She passionately pleads for a return to the sanity and

sanctity of moral relationships.Why? Because sin

is far too costly; it harms and destroys. One of the

worst prairie fires on record was started

inadvertently by an army officer stationed at Fort

Hayes, Ohio. He and some friends had been hunting

wild turkeys and had paused to rest. While they

were relaxing, the officer carelessly touched a

match to some dry grass. He never dreamed what

dreadful consequences would follow his thoughtless

act! Within minutes the entire area was ablaze and

the men were powerless to stop it. The flames,

fanned and driven by a strong wind, raged furiously

and swept rapidly across the prairie. The fire burned

up everything that stood in its path - thousands of

acres of land, homes, buildings and countless head

of livestock. As you can imagine, the tragic ruin and

loss caused by that single act brought untold grief

and heartache to the one responsible as well as

countless others. Sin quickly gets out of control and

does more damage than you can imagine.

Nevertheless, many today vociferously proclaim

that there should be no standards of right

and wrong. Everything is relative; it is a matter of

personal choice. Sin is, therefore, taken too lightly.

It is viewed as harmless. As someone said, The Ten

Commandments have become the Ten Suggestions.

Many today believe that the real joys and pleasures

of life are not to be found in keeping these

commandments. Hence, stealing, cheating, lying,

adultery, greed, envy and coveting and a host of

other sins have become so acceptable. “It is easy to

mistake the bright lights and laughter for happiness

and fulfillment. It is so easy to make compromises

that purchase a few hours of delight at the cost of a

sleepless night and a pillow wet with tears.” Sin

isn’t harmless. Like a prairie fire it quickly gets out

of control and does more damage than one can



We must, therefore, resist sin and we are much

more apt to resist it when we remember the false

promises of sin. Author Wendy Shalit stresses the

fact that those who cast off all moral and ethical

restraint end up paying a steep price. Filled with

heartache and regret they say they would have made

far different choices if they had only known all the

painful consequences. As someone has aptly said,

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go. Sin

will keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin will

cost you more than you want to pay.” Sin does not

deliver what it promises. In reflecting long and hard

on the pain, heartache, guilt , shame and regret that

sin ultimately brings we can be empowered to say

“no” to sin.

Theologian John Piper says, “The power of sin is

the false promise that it will bring more happiness

than holiness will bring. The power of sin is the

power of deceit. Sin has power through promising

us a false future. In temptation sin comes to us and

says, ‘The future with God and His narrow way is

hard and unhappy; but the way I promise is pleasure

and satisfaction.The power of sin is the power of a

lie. Nobody sins out of duty.” he power of sexual

immorality is the promise that it will bring more

happiness than morality. The power of stealing,

cheating or any other sin is the same false promise.

We yield to it because we think it will bring us

happiness and fulfillment. But it doesn’t. It brings

guilt, heartache, shame and regret. We discover first

hand the false promises of sin and the high cost of


“What breaks the power of sin is faith in the

promise that the pleasures of sin are passing and

poisonous but at God’s right hand are pleasures

forever more.” The Psalmist declares (16:11),





“This way of fighting sin with the hope of superior

satisfaction in Christ is called living ‘by faith.’”

Hebrews 11:24-26 says “BY FAITH MOSES





REWARD.”Moses lived by future grace and it

enabled him to resist sin.He knew that God’s ways

are, in the long run, best. In order to resist sin we,

too, like Moses, must pursue God’s ways knowing

that ultimately they lead to joy, peace and

fulfillment. Remembering that the pleasure of sin is

passing and costly can help us to resist sin.

Reflecting upon the fact that God’s ways lead to

peace and joy empowers us to resist sin.Victory

over sin is possible.It comes as we live by faith in

God’s promises rather than in the false promises of


The tuna were running for the first time in 47 years,

only 30 miles off the Cape. And they were biting!

All you needed to catch one was a sharp hook and

some bait. And the rewards for doing so were

substantial. Rumor had it that the Japanese buyers

would pay $50,000 for a nice bluefin! That is why

many would-be fishermen ignored Coast Guard

warnings and headed out to sea in small boats.

But what these new fishermen didn’t realize was the

problem is not catching a tuna, the problem comes

after they’re caught. One September morning the

Christi Ann, a 19 foot boat, capsized while doing

battle with a tuna. That same day the 27 foot Basic

Instinct suffered the same fate, while Official

Business, a 28 footer, was swamped after it hooked

onto a 600 pound tuna. These fishermen

underestimated the power of the fish they were

trying to catch. That is what temptation does to us.

Sin looks manageable on the surface. Only after we

hook into it do we discover its strength….and

realize the terrible damage it does. Christ’s fourth

word from the cross reminds us that sin is very

costly. The price we pay for succumbing to its false

promises is far too high.


On that first Palm Sunday of so long ago, Scripture

tells us that as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem,

He wept over it. In spite of its splendor and

magnificence, something was terribly wrong. All

was not well with the people of Jerusalem. He cried

out saying to them, “IF YOU…. HAD ONLY


PEACE…” If you only knew the things that are for

your well-being. If you only knew the things that

lead to a happy, fulfilling, satisfying life. Jesus

knew the true state of things in the city. He saw

empty, impoverished, unsatisfied and unfulfilled

lives. His heart was broken because it could have

been different. His response to the cities and people

of our day is no different. Dr. Karl Menninger asks,

“Whatever became of sin?” Society doesn’t even

like to use the word sin anymore. With all too many

people, wrong has become right. As a result life

today is so messed up for so many. It cannot be

otherwise because sin is serious, it has terrible

consequences. To the people of our cities Jesus

repeats those words from that Palm Sunday of so

long ago: “If you only knew the things that would

bring you peace.” If you only knew the things that

are for your well-being.” “If you only knew the

ways that lead to a happy, fulfilling and satisfying

life.” What are these things? God’s ways. His

standards. Holiness. Righteousness. May God help

us to live our lives in the light of God’s ways. May

He keep us from being duped by the false promises

of sin.