What is the absolute, number one, most important thing of all? Jesus told Martha, one thing is needful - one thing alone. What is that one thing?
To put it another way, what if we could say one last thing, one last sentence to someone, before never seeing that person again? What would it be, or what should it be? What if we could say only one thing, one sentence to someone, in hopes of God saving that soul through our words? One sentence? Jesus says, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.” So in Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven, no matter how great they may be. Jesus said from the cross, “Father, forgive them.”
What is more important than having our sins forgiven? – than Christ making all things right between us and God? That Christ would go to the cross, and die for us, to make us acceptable to the Father? What compares to that? What compares to knowing and believing our sins are completely forgiven - And that we will be saved, by grace, through faith, in Christ.
But the problem we face today, is: “Come on, I’m not really that sinful. It wan’t me. It wasn’t my fault. I’m not to blame. It must be someone else. If I did do wrong, well then I’m still not to blame, because it was the way I was raised. It was the abuse that I endured. It was my surroundings, the culture, society, the television, the violent video games I was allowed to play, the crooked politicians that can’t give me a good government. Those things are to blame, not me, not my soul, not my heart. It can’t be me.”
And isn’t it interesting, that the majority of people in prison, swear up and down, that they are completely innocent. How could the majority truly be innocent?
Because no one wants to accept responsibility. Notice the construction of that word – responsibility implies a certain response of accountability. “But how could it be me? People just don’t understand me, or what I was going through at the time. I’m really not to blame.”
But the truth of God’s Word, is that we all, are to blame. Scripture says, “all have sinned, and come short of God’s glory.”“What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
And what many also do not understand, is that our sin cannot go unpunished. Many think God will just overlook their sins. “Come on, God is love, God is not so harsh that He would actually judge the world, and inflict any sort of punishment.”
But many do not understand. God is absolutely good, just, and holy, which means God must punish sin. If sin were to go unpunished – God would be like an unjust judge, who lets criminals go free.
David says to God, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned.” And there must be consequences.
Scripture says, clearly, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die. The wages of sin, is death.”
The Good news is that God the Father, in His great mercy, did not want to see us suffer the true punishment for our sin, which is everlasting punishment. So He sent His Son, His only-begotten Son, to die for us. “We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.”“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” “He gave”, means the Father, gave Him into the hands of the cruelest sinners, to die, but then to also rise again. And Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new.”
This is why Jesus could speak words of forgiveness to the paralyzed man, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Jesus forgave sins because He is the one who would, and who did remove from us the true punishment for all sin. God is now completely satisfied. God is now completely and fully at peace with us, and we are at peace, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because,“There is no condmenation to them who are in Christ Jesus…” Christ’s resurrection proves that God the Father accepted His sacrifice for our sin. He says, simply “believe, and thou shalt be saved.” His Spirit works through those promises, to create, strengthen, and keep us in the one true and saving faith.
Which is easier, to say, your sins are forgiven, or to say, to a paralyzed man, get up and walk? Which is easier, which is harder? Here’s a hint - one can be seen, the other cannot. Jesus is asking us to believe, in what we cannot see.
So which is easier, to say, your sins are forgiven, or to say, to a paralyzed man, get up and walk?
Which is easier? Which is harder? Which one can be proven? Which one can be observed? Which one demands results to be seen and measured? To the scribes and pharisees – it was all about the proof. “Jesus, prove to us you are really the Son of God.” So, Jesus knew that, to them, to them, it would be easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, because there’s no way to prove or to disprove it, here on earth. To them, to say, “Get up and walk”, must be harder, because that demands proof, it demands physical evidence.
And so Jesus gave them their proof, He healed this man immediately - but not to impress them, or to show off His power – but that they may know, “the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.”
Jesus is asking us to believe in what we cannot see. We surely cannot see our sins being forgiven today. We cannot observe it in a lab, measure it, and scientifically deduce whether or not forgiveness of sins is a reality. We are so focused on what we can see. On what we can do. What we can accomplish. What results we can observe. Jesus says, forget everything. One thing is needful. Believe in Me. Believe that I have forgiven you. Thy sins be forgiven thee. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.”
How do we know? God says so. His Word says so. And His Spirit works in us the true saving faith.
This time the tornadoes struck much closer to home, less than 30 miles from here. May God comfort and strengthen all those who are hurt or suffering loss.
But God allows times of difficulty because He wants us to trust in His forgiveness, in His Words of eternal life, instead of the dying things of this world. As we watch all things around us fade away, even our own bodies, the eternal Christ continues to remind and comfort us: Thy sins be forgiven thee. Everything needful for salvation is complete. Believe and be saved. “Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” He can guarantee us this because He already made full payment for all sins, and removed from us their true punishment. He died once, but will never die again, and promises, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”“Be of good cheer – thy sins be forgiven thee.” Nothing matters more. Amen.