Summary: The forgiveness of sins is God’s most amazing miracle and unforgiven sin in your life is probably your worst tragedy and must be dealt with.
Today, I want to talk about the forgiveness of sins. I want to talk about the forgiveness of sins being difficult for God. The forgiveness of sins is God’s most amazing miracle and unforgiven sin in your life is probably your worst tragedy and must be dealt with.
READ Mark 2:1-12
This is a sermon for sinners. If you’ve never sinned, if the red light in your soul has never flashed a warning signal, if you’ve never felt sorry about something you did or said before God or to someone else, then this is not for you. I’ve learned through the years that, sometimes, people make their own little list of sins which is amazingly short. When they say sin, they mean things like murder, adultery, theft, and maybe blasphemy and a few others.
A Lengthy List
Well, before you bolt for the door, I’d like to add some other sins to that list. Would you think about the sins of temperament and bad attitudes ... anger, sullenness, lack of faith. There are so many ways in which our temper hurts other people. We sin against them just by the way we treat them and the way we talk.
In Jesus’ famous story of the prodigal son, the prodigal represents all those sins of the flesh, and they are, indeed, serious. But he did come home.
However, the brother represents the sins of temperament. When the house was alive with light, music, and laughter and the smell of barbecue beef was extending its invitation to the whole village, he was outside. The Bible says he was the only one not enjoying that night. He was angry and would not go in.
These were sins that made him farther from his father’s heart at that moment than his brother was, by far.
You can stay at home in the Father’s house. Yet, by your attitudes and your sins of temperament ... complaints, the little digs and snide comments made, the rude and crass jabs you take and cloak under the shadow of humor, all of those things better left unsaid, you can stray far, far from the Father’s heart and life.
What about sins of society, those of the social life away from the church setting. Some man has said that most of the sins of this day are sins connected with money making. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a word from God to us in business and commerce, as well as in church. The sins of lying, not telling the whole truth, cheating, stealing, being dishonest with people ... these things are sins, too, and cannot be filed under shrewd business.
What about sins of neglect. Many of our lives are clouded by sin ... not because of the bad things we have done, but because of the good things we have left undone. We’ve simply left undone all the many things we could have done to help and all the many ways we could have been an encouragement. That is why God saved us and put us here. Our Lord talked a lot about those kinds of sins.
The priest and the Levite were the real thieves in the story of the good Samaritan. This was not because they did anything to the injured man, but simply because they stole from him their love, compassion, and help. They didn’t do anything.
We recall there are many times when Christ presents this kind of situation.
There was a man He called wicked. This was the only time He ever did that. That’s a strong word. The Greek word for it is the one from which we derive our English word "malignant." He called him this because he did nothing. He was left with a sum of money, and instead of investing or using it to the glory of God, he simply dug a hole and lived by that hole. His soul shrunk to the dimensions of that hole. He didn’t steal it or misspend it. He just simply did nothing, and Jesus said the man was a wicked and slothful servant. We can be wicked (malignant like a tumor) without really trying.
As we make our list of the sins ... the sins of the flesh, temperament, society, and neglect, I think for all of us need to understand the Bible is right on target when it says, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23). All of us are in need of forgiveness of sins.
Today, I’d like for us to think about how difficult it is to forgive sins. If you think that forgiving sins is a light, easy, and simple thing, then you’ve just not been paying attention to God. So often, I fear that we try to make our church look like bargain outlets for the kingdom of God. We sell a cheap grace to people, saying, "Everybody come and let your sins be forgiven. It’s fun and easy." But forgiving sins is hard.