“…let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
I love the last part of this. When our God pardons us from our sins, we are not just barely forgiven. He “abundantly pardons” us. God doesn’t just say, “Well, you didn’t really measure up, but I’ll let you slide in just under the radar.” No, He wipes our sins away as far as the east is from the west. He forgives us completely and we are able to stand perfectly clean in His sight.
How can such a wondrous thing happen? Because God’s justice and penalty we owed Him because of our sin has been totally satisfied in Christ. This is what makes the cross so fundamentally important for the Christian worldview. On the cross, the price for our sins–all the sins of the whole world–was paid by Jesus. He took the death we should have died and died it Himself.
The ugliness of the cross reminds us of the ugliness of sin. The isolation and loneliness remind us of what life apart from the giver of life will become and in fact is. Sin separates us not only from God, though, but from other people as well. I’ve heard someone protest that they didn’t want to accept God’s offer of salvation because they knew all their friends and family died apart from Christ, would be in Hell, and didn’t want to go to Heaven without them. This is a tragic misunderstanding of Hell. Hell won’t be a place where we can fellowship with other people. It will be a place of utter loneliness and isolation.
If there is anything in us that might be pulling us in the direction of sin, let us forsake it entirely and move forward into the life awaiting us if we will only follow the path of the God who gives life. He is waiting to receive us. Like the father of the prodigal son, He will run to receive us with open arms and a great celebration. He will, again, pardon us abundantly. Let us receive it and rejoice.