We need forgiveness, we need the Saviour to set us free

Published 5:27 am Sunday, May 14, 2023

Imagine being blamed and punished for 12 years for a crime you didn’t commit.
So it was with a Jewish soldier named Alfred Dreyfus.
Dreyfus showed such marked ability that in 1891 he was appointed to the general staff of the French Army.
However, three years later he was arrested and charged with selling military information to Germany.
His trial resulted in dismissal from the army, public degradation and commitment to the French penal colony on Devil’s Island.
Due to popular demand, Dreyfus was retried in 1899, but was again declared guilty.
Because of public dissatisfaction with the result of the trial the president of France pardoned Dreyfus.
But the friends of Dreyfus were not satisfied with a mere pardon and in 1906, in a third trial, Dreyfus was completely vindicated.
He was given the more advanced rank of major and enrolled in the Legion of Honor.
When Alfred Dreyfus was pardoned after the second trial, the penalty of the crime of which he was accused was remitted.
He was taken from the penal colony on Devil’s Island.He came back to his family and friends, but the stigma of being called a traitor still rested on him.
But when, through the third trial, he became vindicated and was promoted to the rank of major and enrolled in the Legion of Honor, he was justified before the world.
He had a standing of perfect righteousness and was given recognition that comes only to those who have served and brought honor to their country.
This is exactly what happens when God justifies the one who believes in Jesus.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
We all are under the same penalty of sin No one has the right to point his/her finger at another and declare them ’unholy’…because we all are unholy.
We all need forgiveness from sin; we all need a Savior.
If Paul had stopped at verse 23, we would all be condemned without any hope for the future.
But he wrote in verse 24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
God loves us so much He chooses to forgive all of our sins because of Jesus’ sacrifice. But then He goes one step further: He completely pardons us from all wrong doing and promotes us into His family!
Years ago, after Charles H. Spurgeon had finished preaching a sermon on justification by grace, a man came to him and said, “Oh, 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.”
Simply put justification means “just as if I had never sinned.”
You can’t buy it, earn it or learn it. It is a free gift from God, given by His grace, received by your faith.
If you are struggling with things in your past, if you are bound by sins in the present, if you have no hope for the future — God offers you a way out.
Just call on Jesus and He will pardon you and promote you into His family!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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