God guarantees forgiveness
Updated: Mar 25, 2018
You can’t make God’s promises fail any more than you can make the earth stop rotating.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
A contract is an agreement entered into by two or more parties and is usually enforceable by law. Contracts are serious business and therefore we sign our names to contracts cautiously and carefully. There is always concern that we may be misunderstanding some of the finer points of the contract and find ourselves in a difficult position. Only after one is confident that that contract is fair does one sign his name to it.
As time goes on, conditions might make it necessary for you to alter the terms of the contract. But you do realize that contractual changes are liable to cost you a lot of money. So it behooves you to look over any contracts you sign very carefully before putting your “John Henry” to the document.
The Word of God before us talks about contracts too. There is an old contract between God and his people which was made at Mt. Sinai and fractured time and time again not by God but by God’s people. God is tearing up that contract (so to speak – he is really abrogating it through the life and work of his Son). God made a new covenant with mankind at Mount Calvary. It is a unique contract. It requires nothing of you and is worded to make God completely responsible for your salvation! Therefore, let us …
LOOK OVER GOD’S NEW CONTRACT WITH YOU
SEE THAT YOU NEED THIS CONTRACT
UNDERSTAND THE TERMS OF THIS CONTRACT
ENJOY THE BLESSINGS OF THIS CONTRACT
There is no misunderstanding why we need this new contract from God. A simple comparison of the old and new contracts will tell you why. Already we alluded to one important change: the new contract requires nothing from you – no signature, no money, no commitment at all! The old contract required your participation. It required holy living … continually! We broke that contract from the time we were conceived in our mother’s wombs! We have not been holy as God required and as the contract demands! When you look at the summary of that contract in the words of the Ten Commandments, you see that you have broken your contract with God. You are in breach of contract. God has every right to follow through on the terms of that contract which stated very clearly that the soul that sins will die. Without a new contract, we are lost and damned because of our sins.
The new contract is different. It is a one-sided contract. The contract requires God to do everything and binds us to nothing. There is no “if … then” clause. There is no “if you believe, then I will forgive you.” God doesn’t ask you to do anything to secure your salvation. The contract is completely dependent on God’s grace. God demands nothing from us but offers everything to us for Jesus’ sake!
Since God is the only party making a promise, there really is no need for a contract. But God gives you one anyway – not for his sake but for yours! God puts himself under a contract to assure us of his loving grace and forgiveness. We need this unconditional contract from God to enjoy the peace of forgiveness.
The old contract applied to the people whom God took by the hand and led out of Egypt. It served as a teacher to show Israel how to live as God’s people. It served to show Israel that they needed something more, something better. The old contract was given through Moses; the new contract was given through Jesus Christ. The old contract was a shadow of things to come; the new contract is the reality of Christ. The Bible says, “By calling this covenant ‘new’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete, and aging will soon disappear” (He 8:13). Not only is this a new contract. It is a better one.
The old contract failed because God’s people proved themselves unfaithful. God did not fail. He was like a faithful husband to his people: faithful in his love and care for his people. Unfaithful Israel gave their love to false gods. Their stubborn self-reliance led them to think that God was unnecessary. They trusted foreign alliances. They broke their contract with God. They needed a new contract.
Because of our sins, we are no better than they. We have broken the ten commandments time and time again. Rebellion against God and self-righteous pride condemn us too. Why is it that we enter into contracts with employers, lenders, and even marriage partners – and take those contracts more seriously than the one God made with us in his holy law? Why do we think sin is not as lethal as God says it is? Don’t we care that our sins condemn us? The rigors of the law beat us down. They make us feel helpless and hopeless. We need a new contract.
So, look over God’s new contract with you! Understand the terms of this contract. The LORD says, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” The Hebrew word for my law is best understood in its primary meaning as a doctrine or teaching. The Lord promises to put his teachings in our minds and hearts. God works faith in our hearts to believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior. God reshapes our minds and hearts so that we begin to want what God wants! God sees to it that his contract cannot be broken. God’s contract assures us that we are children of God and heirs of heaven for Jesus’ sake.
The terms of this new contract clearly explain that God has taken matters into his own hands to establish this contract as a permanent and comforting promise to God’s church. He places the gospel in our hearts. God makes sure that this contract will endure eternally.
The LORD spells out the terms of the contract this way: “I will be their God and they will be my people.” Jesus fulfilled the terms of this contract for us when he redeemed us for himself and made us “a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” The LORD said in the book of Isaiah, “I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine.” God has bound himself to the terms of the contract and has given you faith to accept what he has done.
There are many benefits to this new contract. “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. The Holy Spirit is our master teacher. He works spiritual understanding and maturity through the gospel message. As we grow in our faith through Word and Sacrament, the will of God will more and more closely resemble our own will!
The needs and the terms of the contract clearly make this new contract appealing, but the blessings of this new contract are almost too good to be true! Here they are:
The LORD says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” The blessings of the contract are the heart and soul of the whole thing. God guarantees forgiveness. So completely does God forgive our sins that he doesn’t even remember them! He does not keep a little black book with a running tally of your offenses that he brings to mind whenever you transgress his will. He forgets your sins! Later in this book of the bible the LORD says, “Search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found.” Micah the prophet wrote, “you will tread our sins under foot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Mi 7:19). God promises complete forgiveness!
Forgiveness is free and faithful! There are no strings attached to God’s forgiveness. There is nothing you must do to make it real. God forgives, period! And he does it faithfully every day. That is why we confess: “In this Christian church he daily and full forgives all sins to me and all believers.” (Martin Luther’s explanation to the 2nd Article of the Apostle’s Creed)
Another blessing of this new contract is its reliability. It is reliable because God is the one making the contract. We can’t screw it up! His promises are as dependable as the coming of day and night. So that you might know God’s promises are sure, God himself says later by the pen of Jeremiah, “This is what the Lord says: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, then my covenant … can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne.” You can’t make God’s promises fail any more than you can make the earth stop rotating!
This whole contract hinges on one person – Jesus Christ. If he hadn’t lived and died and risen from the grave, we would be doomed by the terms of the old contract. But Jesus poured out his holy precious blood to give you the forgiveness God promises in this contract. This is why we continually glorify the name of Jesus! This new covenant in Jesus’ blood is given to you every time you receive Holy Communion. This covenant is perfect because it is signed, sealed and delivered to us by God himself. What a blessing! What a treasure.