Conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit blots out every relationship on earth and makes us aware of only one–our relationship with our Lord! “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.” (Ps 51:4)
Earlier this month I was cut to the quick from Oswald Chambers’ devotional that fits so well with what I’ve been studying in the Beatitudes. If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the spiritual part of our being never says “I can’t”; it simply soaks up everything around it. Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. That came back to me the weekend before Thanksgiving because I failed tremendously on this over the weekend.
We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5:3-4) This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.
When a person is convicted of sin in this way, he knows with every bit of his conscience that God would not dare to forgive him. If God did forgive him, then this person would have a stronger sense of justice than God. God does forgive, but it cost the breaking of His heart with grief in the death of Christ to enable Him to do so. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
The great miracle of the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of Jesus Christ alone that enables the divine nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)
It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.” (Rom 3:23-26)
The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ; “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:20). It is there that His conscience is satisfied. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:13-14)