Even the prophets knew that Jesus would forgive me if I believe in Him
Hundreds of years before Jesus was even born, prophets (through the Holy Spirit) foretold not only of Jesusí birth, but also of His miracles, His death and resurrection, and even how He would conduct His Kingdom. Today, I want to focus on forgiveness.
In Acts 10:43 we read, ďAll the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (New International Version)Ē
As Israel went through its times of rebellion against God, God would send a prophet to speak for Him, to tell the people that God would lovingly take them back if they would just give up their idols and sinful ways. Unfortunately, they didnít always listen, so along with a message of hope, God would tell them what would happen if they didnít listen to him and return to His ways. The prophets would speak of wars and captivity that the Israelites would have to face if they kept on doing things their way, and God was true to His word. You see, Godís word is always true, and whatever He says will come to pass. But you also need to see that God always has our good in mind, as we talked about last time, even if we donít think so.
The Israelites, as we would say today, talked out of both sides of their mouths. On one hand, they would complain to God that He wasnít doing enough to get them out of their situation, that He was being too tough on them. With the other hand, they would cry out to God for deliverance from their troubles. Through His prophets, God always told the people what they would have to do if they wanted Him to save them. His solution was always the same: 2 Chronicles 7:14, ďif my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.Ē Also in Ezekiel 36:25-32, God says, ďI will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!
Yes, no matter how deep their rebellion against God was He would always forgive them their sins and return them back to a state of righteousness and would heal their land. And God says the same thing to us today. If this country would stop doing the evil things it does, and if we will all cry out to God to save our country, our youth, our way of life, and truly mean it, then He will heal our land and make this country great once again.
Even then, God let His people know that one day, He was going to send a Savior to free us from our sins and from ourselves. About 500 years before the birth of Jesus, God told the prophet Isaiah to tell the people about this future Savior, in Isaiah 9:6-7, ďFor to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on Davidís throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this (New International Version).Ē We hear verse six every Christmas at church. But did you notice who it is who will accomplish this for us? The verse says the ZEAL of the Lord will accomplish this. His Zeal. That means with everything that is within Him, He will forgive and free us if we just believe that He can and will do so. Remember: Faith is believing. If you truly believe that God will do for you what He said He would do, then your faith will be strong and nothing in this world can shake you from that belief.
God has said that if you come to Him and ask Him to forgive you of all your sins, you just have to believe that itís true. If you donít believe it fully, then it will not happen. God does not like double-minded people, because they will never be able to make up their minds, and will always doubt whether what they see and hear is true or real. Thatís why God doesnít just save everybody. He wants you to want him. He will not force Himself on you. What kind of relationship does a marriage have in it when two people are forced to marry each other? It would be a marriage without love, just obligation. You see God doesnít what you to feel obliged to come to Him because He knows that obligations donít always sit well with us humans. Tell the truth now: How many soccer moms, after the first couple of weeks, really want to take their kids to the field for a game? Or at your job? Or even at church. Obligations are not always fun and do not give us the satisfaction that say a hobby does, since that is something you do because you want to. It is the same with God. If you come to Him freely, because you want to, I can tell you from my own experience, you will have a more satisfying relationship with Him because you are both mutually joined together forever.
I call that Good News. Please hear it. Please embrace it. Please make it your own. If God is tugging at your heart at this very minute, then He has just given you all the faith you will ever need to believe in his Son, Jesus. God is telling you that He wants you to join with Him for eternity. Remember: God always gets what He wants, and right now, youíre it. Embrace Jesus. Embrace God. Youíre life will never be the same.