Ernest Hemmingway told this story about Paco. A father came to Madrid, which is full of boys named Paco, and inserted an advertisement in the personal columns of a local news paper offering:
According to the story, a squadron of the civil guard had to be called out to disperse the eight hundred young men who answered the ad. Isn't it true that all of us need to be forgiven? This pamphlet will show you how you can be forgiven for every wrong, offense, and sin which you have ever committed. Read on.
Forgiveness is God's answer to the problem of guilt. Guilt is an interesting reality. Everybody has experienced it. It is an unpleasant blend of emotions and reason which tells us that something is wrong--wrong with us. Some guilt is caused by conditioning. We learn to feel guilty when we violate the taboos of the culture in which we were reared, when we are blamed for someone else's failure, when we break a man-made religious rule, or when we fail to reach an objective which we have set for ourselves.
Other guilt is caused by the fact that we have done wrong. Those guilty feelings demonstrate that we, as humans, are made in the image of God, and have a moral nature. God is the One who defines what sin is. He has done so in the Bible, but even if people are unfamiliar with the Bible, God's Holy Spirit works in their consciences to convince them that they are guilty when they have done something wrong.
There are natural consequences when we sin. A lie may lead to embarrassment. Anger may lead to regret. Promiscuity may lead to disease. Beside those, there is the sentence which God hands down for sin. God is just, and He is holy. He would be neither just nor holy if He allowed sin and wrong to go unpunished.
Though our sentence includes physical death, it is not limited to that. The Apostle John relates in the Bible, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works... This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev. 20:12,14b,15
Forgiveness ultimately has to come from God. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Judge of all. God is loving, and He is not willing that any should be condemned. However, since God is also just and holy, before He could forgive us, His justice had to be satisfied. He designed a way to satisfy both His love and His justice by sending His Son for us. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins with His blood, dying on the cross in our place.
God does not offer His forgiveness to us on the basis of our good works or church membership. He provides forgiveness and eternal life to us as a gift.
Anyone who is willing to turn from his sin and receive Jesus Christ as his personal Savior by faith is set free from the penalty of sin and the burden of his guilt. He is born into God's family. Saving faith requires that we ask for the salvation which God has provided.
Forgiveness comes when we ask by faith for the salvation which God has provided.
The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ insure the availability of forgiveness to all, but your faith is necessary to claim the reality of forgiveness.
If you have questions about receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior, E-mail me at FirstBaptistChurchOC@gmail.com
If you clearly understand the Gospel you have just read and if you see your need to trust Christ and would like to receive God's gift of forgiveness and eternal life, you may--right now--by calling on Him. Many who have trusted Christ have prayed a prayer similar to this (If you can mean this sincerely, pray):
Have You Made A Decision For Christ?
If you have made a decision to trust Christ as your Savior, drop me an E-Mail message at -- FirstBaptistChurchOC@gmail.com or write to:
First Baptist Church
Reproduced by permission