God is known for many miracles, including the creation of the universe and resurrection from the dead, but perhaps his greatest miracle is forgiveness of our sins.
Everyone is burdened by sin. Looking first (as it is so tempting to do) at the sins of others, we see that many people are poor or broken because of things other people did. A relative neglected or abused me. A criminal attacked or stole from me. A friend betrayed me. We are familiar with these things but, clear as the effects may be, we struggle to find any solution. The grandfather who abused me is dead, the vandal who broke my window ran away, my former friend has moved. The world is an unfair place and we don’t know how to fix it. We can’t imagine what it would look like to erase sin from the world.
Looking inward, we find the more disturbing reality of our own sin. Every one of us has failed to do the things we ought, whether measured by God’s commands or by our own limited aspirations. I have lied, I have neglected someone who needed me, I have failed to keep my promises. We don’t dwell on these things but we recognize our failures. We are deeply flawed and we don’t know how to fix it. We can’t even keep a New Year’s resolution. We can’t imagine what it would look like to erase sin from our own hearts.
Here is where the miracle comes in. Jesus said he did not come to help the righteous, but to save sinners. He pointed out that all sin, in addition to harming our neighbors and ourselves, is an affront to God. What we need most is God’s forgiveness. That is what Jesus offered. Well, it is easy to say “I forgive you” (though we say this too seldom) but what does forgiveness really mean? Jesus’ answer was to allow himself to be unjustly arrested, condemned, tortured, and killed. He took the punishment we deserved on himself. As he was hanging on the cross, he prayed for his accusers: “Forgive them.” That is what forgiveness looks like.
Trusting in God, Christians are bold to confess their sins and to make this plea knowing that it will be granted:
Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father. For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past.
Forgive us all that is past. That includes all those things we do our best to forget and blush to remember. When we confess our sins and trust in God, he forgives us and lifts the burden of that sin away. This is good news and a true miracle!
Join us in the confession of sin and prayer for forgiveness. It can change your life.