Jeremiah 3:21-4:18; Colossians 1:11-17; Psalms 77:1-14; Proverbs 18:20-21
OT: “A sound is heard on the barren heights: the children of Israel weeping and begging for mercy, for they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the Lord their God. Return, you faithless children. I will heal your unfaithfulness… If you return, Israel — this is the Lord’s declaration — you will return to me, if you remove your abhorrent idols from my presence and do not waver, then you can swear, “As the Lord lives,” in truth, justice, and righteousness, and then the nations will be blessed by him and will boast in him. For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up the unplowed ground; do not sow among the thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, men of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. Otherwise, my wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish it because of your evil deeds.” (Jeremiah 3:21-22a; 4:1-4 CSB)
As the Lord used Jeremiah to charge Israel, Judah and Jerusalem of their sin, repentance and forgiveness was always an option. God is ever merciful, and it is never His desire to smite people with an outburst of wrath. He always offers repentance and forgiveness. To the long-unfaithful nation of Israel who had experienced the Lord’s discipline, God said, “If you return to me – repent from your sin and remove your idols – I will heal your unfaithfulness, restore you and bless the nations through you.” To the people of Judah and Jerusalem, God said, “If you sincerely repent and turn to me – not just through religious actions, but at a heart level – I will forgive you and will withhold My wrath. God is loving and merciful. He always offers the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. God is also righteous and just, and if His offer to repent and be forgiven is not accepted, He has no choice but to release His justice and wipe out unrighteousness. The way to forgiveness is through Jesus Christ. Repentance from sin and faith in Christ will open the door to forgiveness, redemption and restoration. The offer still stands, for now. The choice is yours to make.
NT: “In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:14-17 CSB)
During Jesus’ ministry here on earth, there were several times when He said to someone, “Your sins are forgiven – go and sin no more.” Upon hearing Jesus’ words, the Pharisees would always get outraged, saying, “Who are You to say that You can forgive sin. Only God has the power and authority to forgive sin.” Well… Paul cleared up any confusion about Who Jesus was in these verses.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God. That doesn’t mean that Jesus is just a copy of God… He is in all things equal to God and is the very expressed likeness of God. It is through the visible Jesus that we see the invisible God. Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, then you have seen the Father.” Jesus is the firstborn over all creation. This does not mean that Jesus was the first created thing. Jesus was not created. As God, He has always been. Firstborn is a position of status. It is the firstborn that inherits all. Jesus Christ is the inheritor and Lord of all creation. Everything (in heaven and earth, visible and invisible) was created by Him, through Him and for Him. Jesus Christ is the 2nd Person of the Godhead, therefore all things were created by Him as part of the Triune God. Jesus Christ is the Word of God, and it was through the Word of God that all things were created. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Inheritor of Creation, therefore all of creation was created for Him. Finally it is by Him, the very Word of God and the Fulfillment of the Law of God, that all things are held together and kept from spiraling into chaos. That is Who Jesus is, and that is how He has the authority and power to forgive sin. When we repent of our sin and place our faith in the life, death and resurrection of Christ, we are redeemed by His shed blood and are forgiven of our sin. And whom the Son forgives and sets free is free indeed!
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You are indeed merciful, compassionate and always ready to forgive. It is Your kindness that leads me to repentance, for I know that as I repent, You will forgive… and if You forgive me, then I am truly forgiven. Therefore, I accept Your offer of forgiveness and present my circumcised heart to You. Forgive me completely and heal any unfaithfulness that remains in me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.