Forgiveness Made Easy 7
By Charles H. Spurgeon.
"Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."—Ephesians 4:32.
Now, secondly, we pass on to observe what it is which we are told in the text has been done for us, and to us, for Christ's sake. "God for Christ's sake HATH FORGIVEN YOU."
First notice, that he has done this certainly. The apostle does not say he hopes so, but he says, "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Are you in the number of the forgiven, my dear hearer? Hast thou believed in the Lord Jesus Christ? Then, as sure as you have believed, God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Have you put your trust in the atoning sacrifice? Then God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
You have not begun to be a Christian, I hope, with the idea that one day, at some future period, you may obtain forgiveness. No. "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Pardon is not a prize to be run for, but a blessing received at the first step of the race. If you have believed in Jesus your sin has all gone—all gone; all your sin has been erased from the records of the past, never to be mentioned against you forever.
The moment a sinner looks to Christ, the burden of his sin rolls from off his shoulders never to return. If Christ hath washed thee, (and he has if you have believed in him,) then you art clean every part, and before the Lord you stand delivered from every trace of guilt. Pardon is not a matter of hope, but a matter of fact. Expectation looks for many a blessing, but pardon is a realized favor which faith holds in her hand even now.
If Christ took your load, your load cannot remain on your own back: if Christ paid your debts, then they do not stand in God's books against you. How can they? It stands to reason that if your Substitute has taken your sin and put it away, your sin lies no more on you. God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Get hold of that grand truth, and hold it, though all the devils in hell roar at you. Grasp it as with a hand of steel; grip it as for life: "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven me,"—may each one of us be able to say that. We shall not feel the divine sweetness and force of the text unless we can make a personal matter of it by the Holy Ghost.
Then notice that God has forgiven us continuously. He not only forgave us at the first all our sins, but he continues daily to forgive, for the act of forgiveness is a continuous one. I have sometimes heard it said that we were so forgiven when we first believed that there is no need to ask for further forgiveness; to which I reply—
We were so completely forgiven when we first believed that we ought continually to ask for the endlessness of that one far-reaching act, that the Lord may continue to exert towards us that fullness of forgiving grace which absolved us perfectly at the first, that we may continue to walk before him with a sense of that complete forgiveness, clear and unquestioned.
I know I was forgiven when first I believed in Christ; and I am equally sure of it now: the one absolution continues to ring in my ears like joy-bells which never cease.