Only through faith can we get forgiveness for our sins
Published 5:21 am Monday, November 15, 2021
Author Roy B. Zuck tells the story of how Lord Congleton, of Dublin, once devised a clever plan for teaching his tenants how faith secures forgiveness of sins, while unbelief shuts one out from the benefits of the Gospel.
Many who owed him several months’ rent were expecting severe action in the court.
Instead, he posted a notice promising remission of back dues to any who would meet him on a certain day before noon.
On the designated day, he sat in his office waiting their response. They crowded the street, whispering and talking, but not one of them entered the open door.
Just a few minutes before twelve o’clock, a tenant who had been delayed came running in to ask for his receipt.
“Do you really expect to be forgiven for your debt?” asked Lord Congleton.
“Yes, sir,” replied the tenant, “because you faithfully promised it.”
“And do you believe me?”
“Yes, I do, because you would not be the kind to deceive a person.”
“But are you a good and industrious man?” the landlord inquired.
“The notice said nothing about that, sir.”
“So you just believed what I said and have come for your receipt?”
“Indeed, I have.”
Lord Congleton wrote: “Paid In Full” on his bill and handed it to him.
Just as the hour struck twelve, the happy fellow ran out of the house waving the release crying, “I’ve got it! I’m a free man!”
The others milling in the street rushed to the house, but the door was shut!
One man had believed and he alone received the benefits.
The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NIV) In other words, salvation and forgiveness of sin are free gifts given to us by God’s grace. He makes them available to all who will put their faith in Him.
God doesn’t wait for us to become “good enough” before we can receive these gifts, either. The truth is: we could never live or act “good enough” to earn God’s grace. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:6, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (NIV)
Years ago, after Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon had finished preaching a sermon on justification by grace, a man came to him and said, “Sir, I have been praying and I do not think God will forgive me unless I do something to deserve it.”
“I tell you, sir,” replied Spurgeon, “if you bring any of your deservings, you shall never have it. God gives away His justification freely; and if you bring anything to pay for it, He will throw it in your face and will not give His justification to you.”
Faith does not only exclude the thought of merit, it actually includes the idea of helplessness.
In faith, a person depends on another to do what he is unable to do for himself.
For example, if a child is sick and the child’s parents call a doctor, they are confessing their own helplessness to deal with the illness and are expressing their confidence in the doctor.
There is no merit in calling the doctor. Their faith in the doctor merely gives him the opportunity to work.
God is more than willing to forgive and help you—if you’ll give Him the opportunity to work in your life!
Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.