The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog references something I have been reading lately. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book, magazine article or blog post I have or am reading.
I have been preparing to preach a series of five messages from the Book of Philemon entitled “Forgiven to Forgive” for an upcoming Christian school snow retreat in the state of Washington. Part of my preparation is re-reading some of my books and chapters on the subject of forgiveness.
A re-read a few days ago was a sermon entitled “Forgiveness” from John D. Jones (in the book Classic Sermons, compiled by Warren Wiersbe). Jones was an English minster from Richmond Hill Congregational Church in the early 1900’s. He spoke a series of messages on the Lord ’s Prayer, which is where this particular sermon is pulled from.
In the middle of the sermon, he spoke to the issue of how futile life would be without the forgiveness of sins. In fact, he said, “Life is not worth living without forgiveness.”
It really does seem pointless, doesn’t it? If sins are unforgiven and no atonement has been granted, the Christian life is a ridiculous waste. So I compiled a brief list of other truths similar to this statement of Jones in this sermon.
Life would not be worth living
- If the bondage of sin still exists
- If God did not love us
- If eternal life was not achievable or possible
- If we only lived for ourselves
- If God’s wrath remained on us forever
- If the evil age we live in would never give us up
- If joy cannot be attained
- If evil could not be used for good
- If final judgment is guaranteed and Christ could not rescue us from it
The good news is that none of the above mentioned things are “truth.” In other words, you can be released from the bondage of sin (Heb 2:14-15). You do have a loving God (Eph 5:2). Eternal life is possible (John 3:16). Life can be lived for others (II Cor 5:15). God’s wrath doesn’t have to remain on you forever (Rom 3:25). The evil age cannot hold you captive forever (Gal 1:4). Joy can be achieved (Heb 12:2). Evil will be used for good (Acts 4:27-28). Final judgment is avoidable (Heb 9:28).
That is the good news of the Gospel!