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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - June 28, 2007

  • 2007 Jun 28

David: How Does God Completely Forgive?







The Miracle of Complete Forgiveness is wonderful, but how did God do such a thing. This evening we will start a look at our salvation and how God accomplished the once and for all sacrifice of Christ for our sins. But we will do it in a way that is very unusual. We will start in Heaven and see the final results of our salvation as it will be. But first we start in the grand song of David.


Listen to his personal testimony. David nicely summarizes what God did for him in this Psalm with the use of an emphasis word SELAH. In today’s language it means, “Hey, look at this!” Let’s look at what God did.


Psalm 32:1-11 A Psalm of David. A Contemplation.


Psalm 32:1-4 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah [Look at this--God convicted me and forgave me]


Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah [Look at this--God heard my confession and forgave me]


Psalm 32:6-7 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah [Look at this--God offers me refuge in His forgiveness]


Psalm 32:8-11 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you. 10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart! NKJV [Look at this--God will keep me]


David was the man whose transgression is forgiven; whose sin is hidden, God having cast it as a millstone into the depths of the sea; whose iniquity and perversion is not reckoned to his account; and whose guile, the deceitful and desperately wicked heart, is annihilated, being emptied of sin and filled with righteousness, is necessarily a happy man.


David experienced all this because by nature God is forgiving. The Old Testament abounds with teachings about His forgiveness.


·                     God described Himself to Moses as, “the Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin” (Ex. 34:6–7).

·                     David declared, “For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee” (Ps. 86:5).

·                     In another psalm he reminds us that God pardons all our iniquities. Psalm 103:3,12 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

·                     Daniel said, “To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness” (Dan. 9:9).

·                     Micah extolled the Lord, saying, Micah 7:18–19 Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.   19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.


No matter how severe the sin, God can forgive it. The worst conceivable sin would be to kill God’s own Son-and that while He was on earth for the very purpose of providing salvation from sin and the way to everlasting life. Nothing could possibly be more heinous, vicious, and wicked than that. And, of course, killing Him is exactly what men did to the Son of God. Yet, while hanging on the cross and about to die, Jesus prayed and affirmed the forgiving mercy available to His executioners, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

  • The degree of sin does not forfeit forgiveness, because even killing the Son of God was forgivable.
  • Nor does the volume of sin end the possibility of mercy. A seventy-year-old profligate who has lived a life of debauchery, stealing, lying, profanity, blasphemy, and immorality is just as forgivable as a seven-year-old who has done nothing worse than normal childhood haughtiness.
  • Nor does the particular kind of sin cancel grace. In Scripture we find God forgiving idolatry, murder, gluttony, fornication, adultery, cheating, lying, homosexuality, covenant breaking, blasphemy, drunkenness, extortion, and every other kind of sin imaginable. He forgives self-righteousness, which is the deceiving sin of thinking that one has no sin. He even forgives the sin of rejecting Christ; otherwise no one could be saved, because before salvation everyone, to some degree, is a Christ rejecter. There is no forgiveness of even the smallest sin unless it is confessed and repented of; but there is forgiveness of even the greatest sin if those divine conditions are met.[1]


So to see how God accomplished complete forgiveness of our sins through Christ's sacrifice—turn with me to our final destination—heaven!


Where would we find that? Most of us would turn to Revelation, but an even clearer picture of that wonderful city we are headed towards is actually in Hebrews 12. Please open there with me!


What awaits all of us who have experienced the Miracle of Complete Forgiveness? Hebrews 12 tells us these precious realities.


  1. FINALLY WE THE FORGIVEN WILL ENTER THE CITY WITH FOUNDATIONS: those completely forgiven come to the city of God—“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God” (v. 22a). The longing of our hearts as throughout our earthly lives we were pilgrims and strangers always waiting for and looking for this city God was preparing for us.


·        Mount Zion was the location of the city of Melchisadek, the site of Abraham’s offering of Isaac and the later Jebusite stronghold that David captured. When David brought the Ark of the Covenant to this place he made Jerusalem the spiritual center of his kingdom—the place of God’s presence with his people.

·        Later as Solomon built the Temple and installed the Ark, Zion/Jerusalem became representative of the earthly dwelling-place of God.

·        As believers we are already citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem and have all the privileges of that heavenly citizenship. Remember what Paul wrote, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

·        As believers we are already seated at the banquet table with Jesus because of our position in Him as Paul wrote, for “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

·        So as Paul we follow after (keep going slogging through the trench warfare of life) so that we can arrive at the goal already ours through the upward call of Christ Jesus!


  1. FINALLY WE THE FORGIVEN WILL SEE THE COUNTLESS ANGELS: those completely forgiven meet angels—“You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly” (v. 22b). At last we get to meet all those who watched over us while we went through this life—mighty flaming spirits, “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (1:14).


·        Moses tells us that “myriads of holy ones” attended the giving of the Law (Deuteronomy 33:2), and from Daniel we hear that “Thousands upon thousands attended him [the Ancient of Days—God]; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him” (Daniel 7:10).

·        David said, “The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands” (Psalm 68:17).

·        So seldom do we even reflect upon God’s special ministers who are as Kent Hughes writes “passing in and out of our lives, moving around us and over us just as they did Jacob of old. Sometimes they protect God’s elect—

(i)                             for example, the “tall men in shining garments” who surrounded Mr. and Mrs. John G. Paton years ago in the New Hebrides

(ii)                           or the “tall soldiers with shining faces” who protected missionary Marie Monsen in North China

(iii)                         or, on another occasion, the “huge men dressed in white with flaming swords” who surrounded the Rift Valley Academy—

(iv)                          and on another the “hundreds of men dressed in white, with swords and shields” who stood guard over a hut shielding Clyde Taylor, who would one day found the National Association of Evangelicals.

(v)                            Olive Fleming Liefeld in her book Unfolding Destinies tells how two young Auca Indians, Dawa and Kimo, heard singing after witnessing the martyrdom of the five missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador: “As they looked up over the tops of the trees they saw a large group of people. They were all singing, and it looked as if there were a hundred flashlights.”

(vi)                          But the grand emphasis of our passage is not so much the angels’ care of us, but rather our joining them in festal assembly. The word translated “joyful assembly” was used in ancient culture to describe the great national assemblies and sacred games of the Greeks. Whereas at Mount Sinai the angels blew celestial trumpets that terrified God’s people, we are to see ourselves on Mount Zion as dressed in festal attire and worshiping in awe side by side with these shining beings!” [2]


  1. FINALLY WE THE FORGIVEN WILL JOIN THE SAINTS OF ALL TIME: those completely forgiven come to fellow-believers—“to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven” (v. 23a). Hebrews tells us that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters, so with Him we are sharing in the inheritance promised us by God the Father.


·        In the ancient world all the rights of inheritance go to the firstborn. Because we are purchased by Christ and completely forgiven—we are “co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

·        Bishop Westcott says we are “a society of ‘eldest sons’ of God.” There are no second or third or fourth sons and daughters in the church. We all get the big inheritance! Plus our names are written in Heaven along with the all of those who are already there. In other words, we are all the Body of Christ! They are there awaiting us as we come one by one escorted by Christ. One with Him, brothers and sisters we are united until His entire family has safely made it home. Then Christ can celebrate communion with us when all are safely home.


This sermon will conclude tomorrow June 29th.

[1] These three paragraphs are quoted from MacArthur, J. 2000. The Murder of Jesus : A study of how Jesus died. Includes index. Word Pub.: Nashville, TN

[2] Hughes, R. Kent, Preaching the Word: Hebrews Vol 1&2—An Anchor for the Soul, (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books) 1998, c1993. electronic edition, in loc.

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